Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Name of the Star - A Review for LibraryThing.com

Admittedly, I'm a bit obsessed with Librarything.com.  I constantly update my book list when I get a new book, and I keep up-to-date on what I am currently reading, removing books only when I am completely done.  However, until just recently, I had not been taking advantage of their other features, namely rating and reviewing.  I started rating a while back just to help me keep track of what I have and have not read, and just today I wrote my first review for the site.  It's a quick one because I didn't want to get deep into plot review, for me I feel that a book should mostly speak for itself, but I also feel that a little guidance from those with opinions you respect can't hurt.

Also, I hate spoilers, so I just try to keep away from anything that might go that way by staying more general.

Anyway, enough of my jibber-jabber.  On with the review:

      I want to start this by saying that I love Maureen Johnson. And I don't mean that I love her writing or that I am just a huge fan of her work, though that's true. I mean that I am smitten with the woman herself. She is quirky and hilarious, and that comes through in her writing. This was not a book I expected from her based on her previous stories, so it was interesting to me that she went this avenue.

      Often as I read, I picture the movie version in my head, it's the curse of the filmmaker, but it's also the joy of the avid reader. Being able to use the details given by a writer to imagine the scene they are writing is a wonderful thing, and I would absolutely love to make this into a movie. I'm nowhere near known enough to pitch it, but maybe if I made a sizzle reel or something...

      Anyway, I'm off point. This book was one of those, like most of Maureen's that I've read, that was nearly impossible to put down. I was staying up into the wee hours of the morning to find a good stopping point, and finally just having to call it because my eyes were closing on me (from exhaustion, not from any kind of boredom or lull in the story). It was also one that managed to keep me surprised most of the time. I have read so many stories at this point, studied storytelling, that I can often guess where an author is taking something (or at least think "that's where I'd take it from here"), but not here. I have also read plenty of Ripper stories, many involving ghosts, and this was a new one on me.

      I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good supernatural thriller, regardless of age, or just anyone who can appreciate quality writing.


I hope this becomes the first of many reviews I write, and hey... maybe some of them will even be longer...


William the Bloody Deeply In Like with Maureen Johnson and One Day Hopes To Tell Her That Redd

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Movies I Like Episode 01: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Continuing with the Raiders theme, I decided to pull this video out of the archives. It was supposed to be the first part of a video series that never happened, but something similar is on the horizon. 


THE REGULAR SPOT:

In which William talks about his love of the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark and discusses going to see the new Indy.

This was shot the night before Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released.

All footage is from "Jersey Jones and the Treasure of Zeb" and "Jersey Jones and the Quest for the Best of Mington".  Watch the full versions here:
http://www.youtube.com/regularguy5mb
And soon to be available in web series form here:
http://www.youtube.com/mediablitzkrieg

All music belongs to John Williams from the Indiana Jones series:
"Raiders March"
"The Map Room"
"The Journey to Akator"


Other places to find William on your interwebs:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/regularguy5mb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/William-Redd/50428670702
Blog: http://regularguy5mb.blogspot.com
Tumblr: http://regularguy5mb.tumblr.com
Dailybooth: http://dailybooth.com/regularguy5mb
Formspring: http://www.formspring.me/regularguy5mb
About Me: http://about.me/williamredd
T-shirts: http://regularguy5mb.spreadshirt.com

http://www.mediablitzkrieg.com

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Raiders of the Lost Childhood

      Last night, as I sat there watching Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen for the first time (on an IMAX screen no less, so... really big screen), I felt like I was eight years old all over again.  Spielberg's films, for the most part, have a sense of magic, of whimsy, that always makes me feel like a little kid.

     Raiders is one of those movies that made me fall in love with cinema.  In a way, it's one of the movies that made me want to eventually make my own.  I remember playing Indiana Jones on the Elementary school playground up the road from my house on weekends (often by myself, which were those moments after Alfred Molina left Indy alone in the temple when he had to fend for himself, so why couldn't I?).  I remember my grandmother letting me cannibalize some of her old costume jewelry she didn't use anymore to make jeweled pieces of treasure that an archaeologist like Indiana Jones would go searching for, and then leaving them in trees or other places to find after I'd "adventured" for a while.

      I was really glad to see that several people brought their kids.  This is one of those movies I think all kids should see with their families as soon as it seems right.  I've had the chance to introduce several children to Raiders, and it has always been a wonderful experience.  There are a few moments in the movie that can be rough for children that are too young, but I also feel most kids are stronger than people give them credit for, especially when it comes to the reality of the movies.

      And even if Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls took some steam out of the Indiana Jones engine, Raiders still holds strong enough to make anyone forget the pain of Lucas' horrible story.  I know Spielberg and Lucas made all the Indiana Jones movies together, but to me they have always felt more like Spielberg's.  They show more of his style as a director than Lucas (who, though a decent storyteller, should never write his own scripts or direct his own movies).

      Even if it is a marketing ploy to advertise the upcoming Blu-Ray release, everyone should take this opportunity to see Raiders in the theater.  It is entirely worth it.

      Also, there are some other re-releases coming to theaters for anniversary and Blu-Ray reasons (E.T, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Birds are the three I saw advertised before Raiders).  I plan on seeing as many of them as I can.  I think all movie theaters should occasionally show older movies on the big screen.  That's where the magic will always be for me.


William, the Movie Nerdfighter
who would go see Raiders every single day it was playing if money wasn't an issue

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

From Paris with a Few Thousand Rounds of Ammunition

For a while now I've been talking about getting back to writing on this blog. One way I've decided to do that is by combining this page with my even more neglected movie review blog over on Wordpress (I really don't care for the format over there, so I'm gonna streamline and post all Movie Nerdfighter posts right here on my main blog. The main way you'll know the difference is my sign off will include "Movie Nerdfighter"). Now, on with the review:

      Tonight I finally sat down and watched From Paris with Love. This is one of those movies that I was so unsure of that I put off seeing it until Netflix was about to drop it from their Instant queue, mainly because I’m very iffy about John Travolta movies lately (ever since Battlefield Earth, honestly). I could rant about why Scientology is to blame, but I’ll let other Internet denizens do that. This is a movie review, not a discussion on “religion.”

      Well, we’re a little slow to start as we set up Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ character, the personal assistant to the US Ambassador in Paris, named Reece. He has a good job, a beautiful girlfriend, just an all over nice life; but he wants more. He’s looking to be a secret agent, and just after his girlfriend proposes to him (complete with her father’s ring), he gets his chance when he’s teamed up with “top agent” Charlie Wax (Travolta).

      The minute Travolta comes in, we know things are gonna change for young Reece because his character, Wax, is mildly demented and totally an American action hero. Reece’s introduction to Wax is in the Parisian Customs interrogation room where Wax refuses to part with is good ol’ American energy drinks and starts doling out the “motherfuckers” to the strict Customs agents who won’t let him bring in his cans. After a quick grammatical history of the word he’s already used about five times in the span of five minutes (this same practice would come in later during the multiple bodies Wax leaves in his wake when Reece says “you’re averaging about one an hour”). Reece uses his diplomatic powers to get the cans through, and the two are off. What Reece thinks will be a simple assignment as driver becomes anything but.

      The story is by Luc Besson, who is, for my money, one of the most fun storytellers in movies today. I don’t know why we don’t see the projects he directs make it over to the States as much (I’m still waiting for The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec to be released over here), seeming to be happier as a producer or writer for larger budget action movies, possibly to finance his own directorial pursuits, but his stories are still entertaining as hell and this was no exception. In true Besson-action form, there is a huge body count, numerous explosions, and a woman to die for. This is definitely one of his more popcorn pieces, but even then there is some very interesting relationship dynamics that come into play.

      From the start, Wax puts both Reece and the audience off their game, and neither really recovers until we reach the twist (which is really good and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie). I’ll just say that it’s definitely worth the rental and it’s a lot of fun. You would be doing yourself a favor checking this one out when you get the chance, even if Wax’s character is a general rehashing of every action role Travolta has played since his comeback in 1994’s Pulp Fiction (even to the point of Wax’s “vice” being the coveted Royale with Cheese in a golden styrofoam container delivered by his mysterious trenchcoat-wearing contacts).


This is going to be the first of many movie reviews I'll be posting as I'm trying to complete a film challenge over on Tumblr, 365 Films in 365 Days.  As with most things I do, I'm behind on this challenge, way behind, but I feel I can make a comeback.


William, the Movie Nerdfighter
who really wishes that some studio would have the stones to release Besson's Taxi series over here instead of leaving us with the horrible aftertaste that is the Queen Latifah/Jimmy Fallon train wreck