Singleton + Writer + Book Lover + Moviegoer = Screen Spinster

Welcome to the loneliest blog on the web. I have no words of wisdom to espouse. (why does espouse sound so much like spouse? Is that word trying to rub it into my spinster brain?) Anyway, I don't own a cat. Never will. I don't cook, nor do I sew or knit, but I do spin a yarn (tale) from time to time. I have no domestic talents, I am not a domestic engineer/goddess, nor do I want to be. I'll sometimes post my views on scripts, (mine & yours or theirs) movies, television shows and maybe theatre, along with my own musings usually in the style of a poem. So pull up a rocking chair, sit back as your cherry pie bakes and stay a while if you like.

Friday, October 18, 2013


I find that I can't write blog posts, and do reviews if I want to be able to read wonderful books, and keep going with my own writing. My brain capacity is not as sharp and eager as it once was. I think the wear and tear of life has taken its toll, and I only have enough energy for certain things, which include spending time with the munchkins in my life, and eating cake. Lots and lots of cake.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book of Mormon: North American Tour

Tonight I saw The Book of Mormon in Toronto by paying a $25 rush seat. Out of well over one hundred people tried for the lottery and I was one of the few who was chosen (random luck)! Yay me! The seat was in the balcony and off to the side, so part of the stage was difficult to see and my neck and back are sore, but it was worth that tiny bit of discomfort to watch a fun musical.

Mormon tells the tale of two missionaries who head off to Uganda to preach the words of Joseph Smith (the prophet who created mormonism). Things don't go according to the great Mormon plan.

The Book of Mormon is good. Funny and very earnest. It's definitely not as raunchy as South Park or Avenue Q (both of which I like better). The choreography wasn't that great, but the performers were very good and the songs were fun. Sometimes I couldn't understand what was being sung though, so not sure if it was a vocal thing or amplification thing. Overall, an enjoyable show that really shouldn't shock anyone. If someone is shocked by it then that person is clearly living in a sheltered bubble.

Three magical pairs of underpants out of five!

(Sorry for my constant verb tense change up. I am tired and sore)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On Hiatus from blogging, but not from reading and writing

Two months have flown by since I've written anything here. I decided to break from the net to live a little, so I'm doing homework, reading textbooks, reuniting with grammar and syntax and editing my YA novel (lots of plotting to reconfigure). But I haven't stopped reading for fun. Historical fiction was read (The Painted Girls and The Last Runaway), children books like Jillian Jiggs, Bones Never Lie and Eye of the Crow, and, of course, my obsession with dystopian continues, finished off trilogies like Shades of Earth, Matched, and Bumped, and just finished Prodigy.

I've been to the cinema to catch Iron Man 3 (Tony Stark and Pepper have no chemistry) The Great Gatsby (I still HATE 3D) and Star Trek (Scotty steals the movie)! A lot more to see this summer. Looking forward to Pacific Rim, Superman, anything by Pixar and the movie I am itching to see the most is Before Midnight (I pretend I'm Celine in search of Jesse on the streets of Toronto, but don't tell my boyfriend that).

In the immortal words of the Terminator, "I'll be back."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

ICELAND at Factory Theatre

Three interconnected monologues by three completely different characters who have nothing in common other than a condo. It's the kind of play that made me wish I wrote theatre more often (or ever lately). It's the kind of theatre experience that inspires. I left the theatre gutted as envy coursed through my body whispering in my ear, "If only you could write that well."

Friday, January 25, 2013

My fave book and least fave book of 2012

A short list this year even though I read more than I reviewed, and I'm late in posting (Flumageddon took a hold of me this winter and wouldn't let go!)

My favourite book of last year was The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson. Simply lovely and lyrical. Read it.

My least favourite book was Partials by Dan Wells. It's dystopian (my current favourite genre) and it didn't grab me. I haven't bothered writing a proper review because I was bored with the whole thing. It took me three months to get through it and the final 15 pages took me a few weeks to even think about finishing. If a reader doesn't really care to get to the end then a book is in trouble. The biggest fault of this book is that it wasn't edited well. It is way too long and repetitive, and was in desperate need of an editor with a chain saw.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fall Movie Round Up

This is late in posting as I've been busy traveling, writing and working to pay the bills. So before I can do my Top Ten I have to get the reviews out of the way.


Great Film. One of the better time travel movies. Joseph Gordon Levitt does a good job as a young Bruce Willis. It's now on DVD so go and rent it.

Grade: A


A dark and brooding James Bond who takes on the bad guys pretty much on his own. I prefer Casino Royale to this one, but Skyfall is still a great time at the cinema. The ending is predictable but well done.

Grade: B+


A useless sequel. It's pretty much the same movie as the first Taken. Is Liam Neeson doing every script that comes across his desk?

Grade: C-


DEEEEEEEEElightful! I, too, am bulletproof.



I have no idea what to say about this one. I liked it, but I can't describe it or explain it. It felt like a series of short films strewn together. Some of the story lines I liked better than others. The gay story set in the 30's was my favourite and packs an emotional punch. I hated the futuristic one because Tom Hanks spoke like Jodie Foster in Nell!

Grade: B


A great film. Compelling and realistic. Even though I knew the outcome, the tension throughout was tight and I emotionally connected to all the characters. Ben Affleck is proving to be a very good director.

Grade: A-


Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence play star-crossed lovers of sorts in this film is about mental illness and families. The script isn't anything out of the ordinary special, but it works for what it is. The characters are the most important element of this story. The actors, along with Robert DeNiro, really elevate the material. Even the predictable ending (with a dance competition) works because we believe the characters. Solid film.

Grade: B+


This film is sweet and funny. There is no violence. No fart jokes. No crass humor. It's a simple story about a mother and her son going on a road trip. Is it great? No. Could it be better? Yes. But I enjoyed it for what it was. Barbra Streisand was great and she looks awesome! If you want a happy time at the movies that doesn't offend then go see this one.

Grade: B


I love the world of Middle Earth and I'm glad to revisit it again. I saw the film in 2D. Although I enjoyed going back to Middle Earth it didn't feel new. It felt very much, "been there, done that." I don't know how this book can be stretched to three films and I really hope the next one isn't made up of filler that drags Bilbo down.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

BOOKS: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

I don't believe in miracles, and thankfully this book isn't about miracles, so don't be afraid to read it. This book is about life on planet earth when earth decides to change course and throws humanity for a loop.

I loved The Age of Miracles. It's a beautifully written, well crafted coming-of-age story about a 12-year-old girl set against the backdrop of what would become a worldwide catastrophe. The earth has stopped rotating like it used to, and this creates longer days then longer nights. The 24 hour timeframe is no longer workable. People are thrown into disarray. People are getting sick. Crops aren't growing. Will humanity survive?

Julia is on the cusp of puberty. She's 11 about to turn 12, so she's finally noticing boys and also becoming aware of her surroundings and the adults who fill it. Julia struggles with bullying at school, with loss of friendships, with betrayal, while the world comes to terms with what is called "the slowing." Life as she knows it will never be the same, and not just because of this global phenomenon, but because she falls in love while witnessing what could possible be the end of her parents' marriage. This girl has a lot to deal with. When I was 12 all I had to deal with was frizzy hair, hairy legs and a pimple or two (boys were a definite NO NO at that young age).

Karen Walker's writing style is lyrical and hypnotic. The words she uses forces the reader to read slow, to take it all in. It's as if we become part of the slowing, but the book is also a quick read because it's a page turner. Coming-of-age stories aren't known to be page turners, and this one is absolutely lovely. The main plot point of the earth slowing down isn't the focus of this work. It's about the characters and what this crisis does to them and the people they interact with. What happens to communities in such a life changing situation. Do we thrive or do we survive? It makes the reader wonder what would I do in such a situation? What would be my priorities? Would I be a realist? Or would I keep hope alive? What would you do?

I'm not going to lie. This book made me cry. I fell hard for these characters. Julia is a wonderful, smart, insecure, awkward girl, navigating the perils of puberty. She's nothing special. She's just you and me going through life. Her parents are polar opposites to one another. Julia's grandfather is 86 and a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but his relationship with Julia is much bigger and more important than we realize. I loved Grandpa! In fact, I pretty much loved everything about this book. It is the best book of the year and quite possibly one of the best books I have ever read.

Don't let the title fool you into thinking this book is about new age psycho babble because it's not. If anything this book is rooted in the scientific, in the secular, in the here and now. The Age of Miracles is about life at this particular moment. Life is staring you in the face right now. Don't look away. Look up! Embrace it! Because you never know when it'll stop moving.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

At the Cinema: PARANORMAN

ParaNorman is a sweet little gem of a movie and isn't just for the undead.

Norman can talk to ghosts which makes him a social pariah, even his family think he's a bit of a nut job. But what he doesn't know is that a witch's curse on his small New England town is about to come to light and he's the only one who can put it right.

ParaNorman is a beautifully crafted animated film. Visually this film is a stunner. It is slightly off centre, or abnormal (pardon the pun) with its cast of uniquely drawn characters. People aren't beautiful in this film. People are layered with big noses and crooked eyes and ill-shaped earlobes, but put that altogether and you get something that is just sublime to look at. The look of the film trumps the actual story. Not to say the story isn't well written. It is a fine film, but I do think it lacked a more concrete conflict. I never really believed that Norman or the town were in any real danger.

For those with kids I would say it's not for young children. I would venture to guess that 10 and up would enjoy the film, but a toddler might be scared. And it's definitely an entertaining film for adults.

When we finally do meet the witch (one of the loveliest animation sequences that I have ever seen) who was killed during the witch trials of the 18th century we get to know more about where she came from and why she is doing what she's doing, and it's quite touching. This film has a lot of heart and is a lot more sweet than I thought it would be. It touches upon a lot of themes. Themes kids can relate to like bullying, loneliness, and feeling out of place. But it doesn't do it in a heavy handed way.

If you haven't seen this film then you're missing out. It'll probably be out in time for Halloween and I would definitely recommend watching it on such a ghoulish night where the zombies, witches and ghosts come out to play!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

A letter to Jane Austen from Elizabeth Bennet

My Dearest Miss Austen,

My sincerest thanks to you and your mighty pen for allowing me to see the error of my ways with regard to my prejudices, as well as my own pride. Putting me through the emotional upheaval of the last year was the only way I could grow into the woman I am now: A grateful and blessed creature. My marriage to Fitzwilliam Darcy is all that I could have ever imagined and more. He is faithful, intelligent, and truly does possess the kindest and most loyal of hearts. Our life together at Pemberley is filled with laughter and friendship. I take daily walks in our gardens, attempting not to cry from the beauty that surrounds me.

That being said, why oh why, did you surround me with so many relatives who operate on the idiotic level? Lydia and my mother drove me nearly to the brink of insanity everyday, but at least I have love for them and can forgive their lack of intelligence. But Mr. Collins?!!?? Really, now? Why such a man to be my cousin and the heir to Longbourn, which by the way, I feel should never have been entailed away. Just because we are all daughters and females does not mean that we are not equal to men. I digress. Back to Mr. Collins! His constant barrage of senseless rhetoric is a thorn in my side. I tolerate him only for the sake of my dear friend, Charlotte. If you had made her slightly more handsome she could have chosen a husband with intelligence. Instead, she has chosen a fool. The constant influx of his pretentious notions on love and etiquette and God is almost more than I can bear, but then I remind myself how fortunate I am that I only see him a few times a year, and that my Mr. Darcy is quite the opposite. I immediately banish the thoughts, horrid ones indeed, that if I had been closer to poverty, or less pretty or less intelligent, I, too, might have chosen, if choice is even possible, such a man to be my husband. Therefore, I am grateful, despite the bumps and bruises along the way that you gave me the courage and mindfulness to believe in myself, and to know that the only reason to marry is for love.

With all my affection,

Mrs. Darcy, formerly Miss Elizabeth Bennet

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I try to keep up on films that are being made, but I don't remember hearing news about this film and the trailer for Hope Springs snuck up on me. It was one of those movies that I kind of wanted to see, but resigned myself to the fact that I won't see it anytime soon (my bf can't be dragged to this kind of film) and I wanted to see it with someone. It normally would have been with my mother but she is out of town. Then I got an invite from a good friend (Hey, Carl!) and off we went to spend date night with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell as the third wheel.

Kay and Arnold Soames are empty nesters who sleep in separate beds and go about their daily routines without variation. Kay would like to have sex with her husband as it's been a while, but Arnold always has an excuse. But Kay doesn't give up. She decides to take money from her own savings, buy plane tickets to Maine and spend a week in marriage counseling sessions with Dr. Bernie Feld (a very tamed down Carell). Arnold scoffs, but eventually goes with her, grumbling all the way (he's definitely a new generation Grumpy Old Man). The married couple reveal secrets about themselves and peel back the layers that have gathered over 30 years of marriage. Some news is welcomed while other news is disheartening and tough to hear. Kay wants sex. Arnold has lost interest. They've both become complacent in their own lives and relationship.

The film hinges on the performances of its two leads, and Streep and Jones are great in their roles. They're the heart of the film and without them the film would fail miserably because the plot itself is paper thin and the story is weak and tends to linger on the superficial. But that being said, I loved the characters. I felt for Streep's Kay as she tries to light a fire under her marriage, as she tries to look pretty for her husband, as she tries to find her sexual spark again. She transforms herself into this housewife with mom hair that I kept thinking made her look frumpy, but that's the beauty of Streep. She doesn't just play frumpy she becomes frumpy with a hint of something underneath. Jones is so crotchety in his oldness that as I laughed at his bitchiness I also wanted to punch him for it. I laughed a lot during this film (as did the audience) because some of the scenes were embarrassing, but realistic that it felt like we were flies on the wall. One second you're laughing and the next you're stifling a cringe as the heartbreak of awkward moments bounces off the screen and onto your lap. And Steve Carell is fantastic in his role as a marital therapist. He is understated and genuine and his tone is soft and deliberate. I really liked him in this film. He is more than just a funny face.

If you're a Streep fan and want to see how an aging couple deal with the empty nest (and in this case the empty bed) then Hope Springs is for you. You don't have to be an old married couple to enjoy it, or even old. The theme is universal and I think no matter your age or your relationship status this film is relatable. I just wish that some moments weren't glossed over and that a little bit more digging was done. But overall, I had a fun time out on a non-date date night for what is essentially a date movie.


Bourne Legacy: Not so much a legacy without the Jason

It's taken me a week to sit down and write this review, and not because the film is bad. It's an okay action film, better than a lot of stuff that's been coming out of Hollywood lately. I just didn't care or remember much of the film once the film was over. So what did I take away from The Bourne Legacy? Ultimately, the title is all wrong. It sets you up for something that just doesn't quite come together, and the biggest problem is that Jason Bourne isn't in it.

Jeremy Renner (doing a good job with the script he was given) plays Aaron Cross (who thinks up these generic and silly Harlequin names?) and he's part of Operation Outcome, another one of those dark and secretive government programs. The film takes place in the past (just after the last Bourne movie ended) and Aaron is making his way across the wilderness, but what he doesn't know is that he, along with anyone involved in the program, have been deemed a liability and the government is getting rid of them. Cross survives the attempt on his life and makes his way toward Dr. Marta Shearing (the talented and classic beauty Rachel Weisz) who helped monitor the people in the program. She, too, survives more than one assassination attempt. The second one she is saved by Cross who quite literally comes out of nowhere, which is a good action sequence, but I kept thinking how did Cross get here? And how did he know to come there? And WTF?

Anyway that's about as much as I care to remember as the plot is convoluted and at times, silly, and well, kind of boring. It has a definite "been there, done that" vibe to it. It doesn't quite flow and is episodic in its limited scope. I liked the performances, but when I found out what Cross's secret was I felt a bit let down and didn't see this character as a leading man anymore. I couldn't help feeling that this movie is not a Bourne movie. Maybe if they called it something else then expectations wouldn't be there.

You definitely have to see the first Bourne movies in order to watch this one. This one piggybacks so much on those other films that if you're new to the series then you'll be lost. But even if you've seen those movies if it's been a while then it might be confusing. I haven't watched a Bourne movie in years and I felt a bit lost.


Monday, August 6, 2012

YA FICTION: Just something I'm working on

Halfway through my dystopian tale.

No tributes were harmed in the making of this story.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book Review: CINDER by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a cyborg and a citizen of New Beijing, but she is not treated as an equal to humans, despite the fact that she's only about 35% cyborg. Cinder is a mechanic who works in the market and all her money goes to her stepmother and stepsisters who have guardianship over her. She's basically a slave to them. One day Prince Kai, in disguise, comes to visit her stall and asks her to fix his beloved android, thus setting in motion the plot of a sci-fi tale about Cinderella (loosely based).

I love YA fiction and for the last few years have been obsessed with dystopian tales. This one has somewhat of a dystopian feel but it's not that genre. The world is new, but people still have their basic freedoms. It's set in the future where earth has been at peace for over a 100 years after WWIV, but the earth has been divided up into 6 countries in total. The story takes place in the Eastern Commonwealth. The biggest threat to mankind is not one another but two things: The Lunar people who inhabit the moon and have great powers of mind control and could destroy mankind and a deadly virus, letumosis, plagues the world.

It took me a while to get into the story, but once I let myself fall into this well crafted world, I was hooked. We all pretty much know the story of Cinderella and how it turns out, but it doesn't follow that path exactly. Cinder is more than just a damsel in distress. She is a deeply layered and confused young woman who discovers secrets about herself through the story. She's not what she seems even to herself.

Marissa Meyer is a fine writer who has created a believable world with characters who are multi-faceted and genuine. I had a feeling the story wouldn't end as the book came to a close. It seems that book publishers are only looking for trilogies or series at the moment, which is fine because I look forward to reading more, as I am the kind of gal who was never invited to the ball.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises to the occasion

Gotham is under attack once again. What is it with this city? Is it built upon an ancient Indian burial ground or Buffy's hellmouth? It always seems to be in trouble. That being said the city has enjoyed a relative calmness for 8 years. The Batman is gone. Mob criminals are in jail. The city is safe. But dark secrets have been kept from the citizens of Gotham and as we all know secrets aren't kept in films for very long.

Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale looking haggard. A true method actor) has become a recluse with a bad knee and greasy hair he keeps to himself in one of his wings inside the Wayne Manor. His foundation still holds charity events but he's never present. He just watches from the shadows (just like a bat! get it?). Bruce is forced to come out of hiding when he has a run in with Selina (Anne Hathaway as a deliciously sexy and savvy Catwoman) as she steals his mother's pearls. But what she was really stealing were Bruce's fingerprints. This plot line eventually links in with the main plot of Bane wanting to destroy Gotham (plot points will be kept to a minimum as I think it's best to see the film with fresh eyes).

Which means...The Batman must come back! Gotham needs him! But does Gotham still want him? The cops chase after him as he's the bigger catch than Bane who has yet to show his true nature. Batman is cocky and arrogant and due to this he has a very painful encounter with Bane under the streets of Gotham. He is literally a broken man and is relocated to the sidelines for part of the film until he's able to come to terms with so many of his issues (abandonment issues, anger issues, lost love issues, fear issues, death issues etc.).

The Dark Knight Rises is an enjoyable and entertaining film. It has many layers and complex characters. Nolan really strives to make sure these characters are three dimensional and not just caricatures. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a standout as police officer Blake. He brings a lot of heart to his role (no spoilers about him though) and this film fan was drooling over the man in blue. Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate is very good and beguiling. I was pleasantly surprised by where her character went, but also wanting a different outcome for her (let's just say that patience isn't a virtue). Gary Oldman shines once again as Commissioner Gordon. A man married to his job. He's given up his family for Gotham, which is just so sad and probably wasteful. And Michael Cane as Alfred was just so heartbreaking to watch. He was the heart of this film. Now for Bane. Tom Hardy commands the room when he's in a scene and his physical presence is quite impressive. I just wish I didn't have to strain to understand him for a big chunk of the film. Sound editing needed to be better when he was on screen.

The movie isn't perfect. I didn't particularly like how Bane was defeated or how another villain was done away with. They both felt like passive ways of dealing with an antagonist. I didn't particularly enjoy some of the one liners that Batman and Bane had because that campiness doesn't work in the Nolan Batman universe as these films are much darker in tone. But that being said I went into the film with no expectations and came out quite satisfied. I think even if you have high expectations going in you'll be entertained and not disappointed. The film delivers and is a fitting end to Christopher Nolan's era as the caped crusaders' director.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

BRAVE: Finally a Princess who doesn't need or want or love a Prince

I've been waiting for a princess story where marrying or loving a prince isn't the key component, and it's been a long wait. Merida is a Scottish princess who hates having to do girlie things. She wants to ride her horse and shoot her arrow. She wants to forge her own fate/destiny/story, but her mother, Elinor, has other plans for her daughter.

Merida is to be married off to one of three sons of the local clansmen, and all three are buffoons in some way. Merida hates the idea of being married off (as she should since she's still a teenager!) so she seeks out the help of a witch who gives her a magical pastry to give to her mother because all Merida wants is for her mother to change. But like all good spells, something goes wrong.

I didn't know plot points when going into this film and I will not reveal them now. It was a bit surprising where the story went, but I believed it and went with it. But the part I liked most about this story was that it wasn't about romantic love. It was about unconditional LOVE, the kind a mother gives a child. This is a film about mothers and daughters. The ups and downs. The give and take. The good and bad. The happy and sad. It's heartwarming and sweet. Is it the best Pixar film ever made? No. But it's a good story.

The film has funny moments and the voice acting was excellent. I do so love my Emma Thompson! But the film is also quite violent and I think young kids will freak out. I had thought of taking my nieces who are 4 and 5, but knowing what I know now I think they would have been too frightened and we would have had to leave the cinema. If you have younger girls then I suggest maybe reading the book first and slowly revealing the story to them and then showing them the movie on DVD so you can take breaks just in case it becomes too intense for them.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man spins a fine web

I wasn't sure about seeing this film as I thought it was silly to revamp the comic hero so soon after the last three. But I am glad they did.

The Amazing Spider-Man is yet another origin story, which we've seen before, but this one has a lot of heart. In fact, I was quite surprised by how heartwarming and sweet it was. Probably not the best thing for a super hero action film, but I think those kind of movies need more heart.

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield who I am now crushing on) gets bitten by a radioactive spider and then eventually becomes spider-man. He's on a mission, and at first, it's a very dark mission. His Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen doing a wonderful job and the heart of this film) is killed by a long haired man with a tattoo on his wrist. Peter basically will stop at nothing to try to find that man, much to the chagrin of the police lead by Captain Stacy (Denis Leary does a great job here). Eventually Peter must battle the lizard man, a scientist (Rhys Ifans) who worked with his father who injects himself with a reptilian formula to try to regrow his own arm. Things don't go so well for him. The lizard part takes over and he wants to inflict this formula onto the citizens of New York.

The villain, as far as villains go, is pretty lame. Personally, I find most comic book villains to be lame (apart from the batman ones of recent years). But this film doesn't rely too heavily on this villain. Yes, he plays a role and there is a big climactic fight scene at the end, but the real story is Peter Parker coming of age, coming to terms with death and manhood and falling in love with Gwen Stacy (The luminous Emma Stone). These two lovebirds have great chemistry on screen. They were a delight to watch.

I also really liked Peter's sense of humor and sarcasm as Spider-Man. He's not all broody and dark like Batman or all American apple pie like Captain America. This hero is much more layered and genuine, I think. I laughed out loud quite a few times, which I wasn't expecting so that was definitely an added bonus. Oh, and I also got teary eyed a couple of times too. Yeah, the scene where city workers synchronize the cranes to help Spider-Man leap from building to building is pretty cheesy, but I like that kind of cheese!

One quibble is that I found some of Spider-Man's swinging scenes as he webbed from building to building to be a bit blurry. I would have liked it to be crisper with slightly better editing. That being said, this is a fun summer flick and is a great movie for date night. I also think 12 year olds will get a kick out of it, unless of course 12 year olds are too cynical already.


P.S. Keep a look out for C. Thomas Howell who plays a father who owes Spider-Man a debt of gratitude for saving his son.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Chicago. Future. Factions. Veronica Roth continues her dystopian tale. There is civil war amongst the factions and the Erudite are dead set on killing off any and all divergents.

Tris is reeling from the death of her parents and doesn't know how to deal. She has to run and hide from the Erudites who want to experiment on her brain then kill her. Insurgent is a solid part 2 in this trilogy that leads to a big reveal at the end. I did find that the last part of the book was rushed and that too much time was spent on the buildup.

I am looking forward to the third book. I just hate waiting so long in between books.


(Note: This review is short and rather ill written because I am distracted. My friend lent me her Vampire Diaries DVDs and I am hooked on this crap!)

MOVIE: TED (The proof is in the stuffing)

"F**K you THUNDER!"

TED is an R-rated comedy by the screwed up mind of Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) and I do so enjoy his mind.

John Bennett is a lonely little boy and one Christmas he wishes that his stuffed teddy bear was real and then voila! Holy Shit! It happens. His parents reaction is hilarious! And the hilarity continues throughout the film. John as an adult (Mark Wahlberg)is still a bit of a child. He has a dead end job and smokes pot all the time with Ted (who grew up to a foul mouthed bear). The one good thing in John's life is his girlfriend Lori Collins (Mila Kunis) who loves that John has such a big heart. She's just had enough of Ted living with them. Ted drinks. Smokes pot. Invites hookers over (no spoilers, but the hooker scene is pretty funny and gross, which is a MacFarlane speciality). So, of course, John has to choose.

What I liked most about this film was the bromance between the two. A real man and a stuffed animal truly are best friends in this film and their relationship feels real and genuine. And when Ted is in mortal danger it pulled at my heartstrings. Even though you know it's a bear, sorry he's a stuffed bear, you can't help but root for him! The CGI bear is top notch and looks great. A lot better than most big budget action films out there.

If you like foul mouths and raunchy material then head on over to the multi-plex. Laugh in your cola and spit in your popcorn. It'll knock the stuffing right out of your face!


Movies: Prometheus

Where do we come from? Who made humankind? Did life begin on earth? Or is life somewhere out there waiting for us?

Prometheus is a prequel of sorts to the Alien franchise. It's a lot more sci-fi than horror. It's slow and methodical. It takes its time to build a mystery that leads to some answers. Not all answers, but enough to tie up this plot (strong feeling that there will be a sequel to the prequel that isn't Aliens).

The movie's exposition was a bit much at times. The action and regular dialogue could be unclear at times, which would then be followed by a long winded explanation of things that just happened. I expected it to be a bit smarter and clear in its story, but it's still worth seeing, especially if you're a science fiction fan or Alien fan.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Movie: Moonrise Kingdom

Quirky. Whimsical. Nostalgic. Sentimental.

Moonrise Kingdom (which for some reason I keep calling Monsoon Rising) is a really sweet film. The characters are well thought out and conceived and felt truly unique. Despite their quirkiness and sometimes out there behaviour they felt quite real and genuine. Wes Anderson's direction is nuanced and stylized. The look of the film is perfect to the time and the story about first love. I think you have to enjoy Anderson's work or be a fan of films that have a slower pace to really like the film.
Anderson takes the time to linger on moments and by doing this he creates the mood: A nostalgic mood that takes one back to a more innocent time. Weren't we all innocent (no matter of decade) when we first fell in love?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

YA Dystopian Fiction: Starters by Lissa Price

It's the near future and a war has ravaged America where the only survivors are people under 18 or the elderly due to vaccinations being given to them and not the middle aged people. The Spore Wars is what it's called. And these aren't your average old people. They age upwards to 200 years.

Callie is 16 and living on the streets with her sickly younger brother and best friend Michael. They go from abandoned building to building fleeing the Marshals who round up unclaimed minors and put them in institutions until they turn 19. But Callie has a chance to change all that. She goes to the body bank. The body bank is a place where rich elders rent out the bodies of young people so they can live vicariously through them for about a month. Callie doesn't think it's the right thing to do, but with her sickly brother getting sicker she has no choice and she needs the money. Callie gets a makeover and is rented out, but her rental goes haywire and she wakes up in her renter's home, an elderly rich woman by the name of Helen, and slowly begins to uncover the real story behind the body bank. The body banks wants to not just rent out bodies of the young, but to sell them on a permanent basis effectively killing the young person inside.

Starters is a quick read and fun. It has some mystery that needs to unravel, not to mention an ominous and frightening character who goes by the name of The Old Man. Who is this Old Man? Well we don't know, nor do we find out. Perhaps the sequel will lay it out for us. I did find at times the writing to be repetitive and I'm not sure why towards the end a full page was written that summed up the entire plot in the guise of Callie thinking about what has happened to her. I think the author should have felt confident enough in the plot thus far and in her readers to know that we don't need to be spoon fed the obvious.

It's not the best YA dystopian book out there, but it's worth a read this summer.


Movies: The Dictator or how I'd rather watch Fidel Castro get a rectal exam

A dimwitted ruthless arrogant dictator comes to America. Sounds like a funny premise, right? Well a premise does not make a film. What a disappointment. I can't say I hated it or that I liked it. It was just a waste of time and money.

Sacha Baron Cohen plays Aladeen with such passion and conviction that it's quite a let down when that same passion wasn't put into the actual script. Here's how I think it went down:

Cohen: "This character is so funny that it'll simply play itself out."

Film Crew/Producers/Anyone with a brain:"But maybe we should plot out these scenes to make sure we have a story."

Cohen: "This character will make the scenes funny. Don't worry."

They should have worried. It really felt as though the writing was done by a very lazy person(s) because they really thought Sacha could just stay in character as the dictator and any scene he's in would turn out funny. But milking a woman's breasts, or commenting on hairy armpits or shitting on someone isn't funny. And I have the funny bone of a 12-year-old boy most of the time. All the funny bits felt really forced. Even the few people in the audience were laughing out of pity. I think I laughed a couple of times but only because of a personal relationship to a couple of the jokes that aren't actually funny.

I thought Borat was hysterical and I was hoping The Dictator would be something like that because the premise really is funny. The character had such potential to be funny and memorable. When the funniest moment of the film is the beginning with a dedication to Kim Jong Il you know you're in trouble. And I have to say that Margaret Cho plays a better dictator on 30Rock than Cohen plays on the big screen.

Save your money. Rent Borat instead or watch the funeral for Kim Jong Il. Or if you're looking for a fish out of water story rent Coming to America (when Eddie Murphy used to be funny) Those would be far more worthier of your time.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver YA FICTION

Love is illegal. Feelings cause disease. Get the procedure to be cured or face imprisonment or death. These are the things that Lena must deal with in this dystopian future.

Pandemonium is book two in a trilogy by Lauren Oliver and things are heating up as a strong rebel force is fighting back against those who think love is wrong. I would call it an oppressive regime, which it is, but there isn't just one person or force at play here. It's a collective mentality that is the bad guy.

Lena has escaped the city and has entered the Wilds where she meets up with others like her. Those who don't want the cure. Those who fight for love. I enjoyed the structure of the book as the chapters go back and forth between what happened in the past while she was in the wilds and what's happening now in the present as she's joined the rebellion and has infiltrated NYC now to get close to the DFA leaders. An extreme group who want all uncureds wiped off the face of the earth.

Oliver's writing style is very rich and she has a talent for words. I'm more of a simplistic writer, but I admire those who can embellish a simple act or scene that doesn't bog the reader down.

The story itself is pretty predictable as I figured out the ending very early on. It's a solid ending (a cliffhanger) but I also kind of wanted something different. Something less predictable. Then again I like to analyze plot points and beats and the ending fits well within those confines. And let's face it a love triangle work for a reason. They bring about conflict and drama and pain. Things that are ripe for the picking. I do hope that Lena finds her mother and that this kind of maternal love is explored more so than the romantic kind.

I look forward to the final book as I hope the story gets even darker. And although love is a great thing to fight for I think this story needs to show that love can also turn to hate and chaos if abused.