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.

Monday, May 30, 2011

YA Fiction Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Here I go again reading another YA Dystopian novel (why doesn't blogger accept 'dystopia' as a word?) because I'm finding myself hooked onto this genre, and I don't think it's going to go away anytime soon. The market might be inundated with them, but if they're well written then so much for the better.

In Lauren Oliver's novel, Delirium, love is outlawed. It's viewed as a disease and when you turn 18 you have surgery to rid yourself of it. Some kind of futuristic lobotomy of sorts. Not sure how the procedure would actually work from a logical/medical standpoint, but this is fiction so we can take it with a grain of salt. The heroine of the story, Lena, is months away from her procedure and she's looking forward to it. Ever since her mother committed suicide, 10 years prior, Lena has wanted to be normal and not to be viewed as defective like her mother. Her mother's brain/heart didn't take to the procedure so she raised her daughter with oodles of love and fun times. A secret they tried to keep from the rest of the world. But something happens to Lena along the way towards her coming of age, she falls in love, and she falls hard and unexpectedly with Alex. She fights it for a while, but slowly comes to the realization that love is a good thing. Needless to say the grownups around her have other ideas.

I really liked the writing style. It's stimulating, and written with a loving touch. The characters are rich in detail and distinct from one another. I absolutely loved Grace, Lena's little cousin who doesn't speak and doesn't have much to do, but for the small amount of time she's in the story, I fell in love with this little girl. It's an easy read, but does require attention, so that the words seep through and I hope the time is taken to appreciate the prose. The one complaint I would have about it is that the city, Portland, isn't in it as much as I would have liked. I would have liked to have known more about the regulators and those in power. Perhaps the sequel will reveal more. Again, like so many YA dystopian stories of late, this is book one of a trilogy. I enjoy trilogies, I just don't like having to wait around for the continuation. I'm hoping to read a YA book soon that stands on its own without further books. That won't happen too soon as the next book on my list is Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Grade: B+

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Little White Lies: Les Petits Mouchoirs that we all tell, and told well here

Little White Lies is written and directed by Guillaume Canet (my French crush) and he does a good job with the subject matter and actors.

Little White Lies isn't flashy. It's a film about friendship, and the lies we tell one another and to ourselves, either to protect others, or to protect ourselves from embarrassment. The group, lead by Marion Cotillard's Marie (my 2nd French crush) are tight, and each year they travel to Max's (Fran├žois Cluzet) posh beach house where they drink a lot of wine (a lot. They are in France after all!), and talk smack to each other, get on one another's nerves, laugh and eat. This year, things are slightly different, right before their trip, their friend, Ludo, (Jean Dujardin) is seriously injured in a scooter accident. Despite his injuries, the group decide to go on vacation without him (without saying it, they are in deep denial about how seriously injured Ludo is) and it's there that some "lies" are exposed.

The film is funny in all the right spots. The humor comes from genuine character's connecting with one another, and the tragic/dramatic moments are truthful. I really enjoyed the film, and could relate to parts of it (I think we can all see a bit of ourselves or our friends within some of the characters from time to time). The film clocks in at two and half hours is a bit on the long side, but doesn't feel too long. I only thought about the time once while watching. Perhaps, with a bit more editing this movie could have been excellent instead of great. A minor difference.

I will mention that the opening sequence is one of the best shot scenes that I've seen in a long time. The way Canet uses the camera in the long take without breaking away produces tension and expectation that sucks us into this world. I also want to mention the soundtrack. It's all in English and relies heavily on the "oldies". It seems like an odd choice, but I really liked it.

These are a group of friends that are fun and flawed and boorish and piggish, and insecure and lovable. They might be your own friends, or friends you never want to have. But spending a summer vacation with them is worth the journey.

Grade: A-

Something Borrowed: Needs to borrow a better script.

Why do so many "chick lit" books turn into disastrous movie versions? How does it get so lost in translation? Something Borrowed, the book written by Emily Giffin, is a fairly good, easy read (read it a long time ago, so some parts are fuzzy), and is harmless entertainment. I remember liking the book when I read it. The movie version doesn't do it any favours. This movie is weak. Weak writing. Weak acting. Weak plot. Weak everything. Even the adorable John Krasinski and the eye candy of Colin Egglesfield can't save it.

It says something that a romcom with two female leads can't even get me to mention them in the first paragraph of a review. I like Ginnifer Goodwin, I really do. (loved her on the tv show ED and BIG LOVE) I think she's super sparkly on screen, and she does her best in her fake long brown wig, but it's just too saccharine, even for me. I wanted to punch her character, Rachel, in the face and tell her to get a freaking backbone! And Kate Hudson, sigh, here we go again. She is a one note actor and has been like this for years. I really wish she would stop playing these same characters. Better yet, I wish I stopped watching them (Note to self: Make that happen)

I remember in the book, Darcy (played by Hudson) was a mega self-absorbed bitch. The movie takes away a lot of that and she's way more tolerable, which just makes Rachel, the girl we want to root for, not root for that much. The premise is paper thin, even for romcom standards. Rachel is a spineless nice lawyer who sleeps with her best friend's Fiance on her 30th birthday and she feels guilty the whole way through. But the fiance loves Rachel, always had, and Darcy, the mega bitch, pretty much took him away from Rachel before Rachel even got her shot. Anyway, characters say and do stupid things and then the movie ends in a tight pretty bow! This is not how the book ends. Darcy deserves a bit more of her own comeuppance and Rachel needs to rip her a new one.

The book has a sequel entitled, Something Blue. Let's hope there is no movie sequel, but if there is, I'm sure I'll stumble upon it someday in a deep dark cinema of my nightmares.

The movie is bad, but at least it's not as bad as the horrible Sex and the City 2 that I saw around the same time last year.

Grade: D.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

BRIDESMAIDS says a big F**K you to Chick Flicks and does it with hilarious results

It's just over twelve hours since I saw the film, and I am still laughing out loud. I loved this film. Loved it! I haven't laughed this hard and for this long at the movies in a long time (probably since 40 year old virgin) and I think I laughed more during Bridesmaids.

The film, written by its star Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, is excellent. The script is top notch. Well paced out. Characters are drawn out, given the time and space to be realistic, which allows us, to empathize with them and to really like them.

Annie, Wiig in a stand out role as a lead actor, is sort of screwing up her life. She's dating a jerk off and on, has a crappy job, (her dream job died when she opened up a bakery and it went belly up during the economic crisis) lives with the creepiest bother/sister roomie duo ever, and just get can't her shit together. The one area of her life that's good is her relationship with her best friend since childhood, Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Well, that's about to change because Lillian is getting married, and Annie is the maid of honor. And everything that can go wrong, does go wrong for Annie and her attempts at organizing things.

Don't let the title of the film fool you. This movie isn't about a wedding. It's about friendships. The wedding is just the catalyst that brings all these women together, and the results are hysterically funny. The dialogue is fresh and crisp and so original. Not once did I hear a writer's voice while the actors spoke. Each character is real.

There are some gross out scenes that are just so embarrassingly uncomfortable to watch and that's where the humor comes from. Watching someone else squirm makes for great comedy. I'm a lady/gal/woman/female, and damn it! I like fart jokes too! I can be classy and eat finger sandwiches with the edges cut off, but I too, like piss and fart and barf jokes if it comes from a natural place. And the physical comedy in this film is definitely natural. What these characters say and do and what happens to them is relatable. I really hope Kristen Wiig becomes a successful leading lady and doesn't wind up choosing Kate Hudson type parts because she's way better than that. And I also hope that Melissa McCarthy breaks through the obvious sexism and fattism that is in Hollywood. If Kevin James can be a leading man then there is no reason whatsoever that Melissa can't be a leading lady as well. Her role as Megan shows just how funny she is.

Some will call this a chick flick, or a romcom, or whatever. But was The Hangover called a dick flick? No. It's an R rated comedy. And this film deserves that honor as well. This is the BEST FILM of the year (so far) and I think will be the funniest.


PRIEST in 3D. The movie with every cliche known to man

You know how some movies have cliches in them? Perhaps, it's thrown in here and there, or it's a cliched sidekick, or a character's motivation? What happens when every part of a film from plot to character to dialogue to look is a cliche? Well, you get PRIEST 3D. The most cliched film I have ever seen, you could say it's the one with the kitchen sink of cliches.

I won tickets to an advanced screening, so no money lost, which makes it not so bad. The film is barely 80 minutes long, and strives to be bigger than it is. The plot, which is forgettable, so forgive me if I mess it up, is this, an alternate world where vampires always lived with humans in what looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland is the setting for a guy, Paul Bettany, a former Priest, and Priests in this movie were warriors against the vampires whom the church claimed have been defeated (surprise, they have not been!) anyway, he must find his niece who is kidnapped by one (a hybrid half-vamp/half human). He's got some bad ass special skills. He leaves the walled city that is run by the Church in an Orwellian fashion, and teams up with a sheriff (one of those Twilight actors) who is in love with the girl. See, the thing is, some people live in the outskirts, and those people are godless people that the church condemns. Oh, yeah, there's a crapload of religious stuff thrown in for good measure (cliche).

Nothing is original about the movie, hence the cliches. It takes everything it can from previous vampire movies, westerns, horrors, and movies with deserts as the backdrop. Even lines of dialogue are speeches I've heard (verbatim) from dozens of other films. I really do think the movie was trying desperately to be bigger and better than it actually is, but it fails. It's not an all out insulting attempt. It's just utterly forgettable. The most insulting part is the 3D. Why did this movie have to be in 3D? There is no reason at all for it to be anything other than 2D or DVD. This 3D technology is annoying.

For a horror type movie, very little on the horror, and only one killing scene was good. It comes towards the end, where a priestess, Maggie Q, uses some kind of metal lasso that slices up a dude in many pieces. Waiting an hour for such a shot isn't worth it.

I hope Bettany, who is a fine hunk of man, chooses better roles because lately, he's been choosing crap. Oh, and go see BRIDESMAIDS instead (review above)


Book: The Maze Runner by James Dashner. YA FICTION

Thomas, a teenage boy with no memory, wakes up in a metal box that transports him to the glade where he meets dozens of other boys, who too, don't have memories of their lives, before they got there. All they know is that it's been two years for some of them, living there, surviving, and trying to solve the maze, and find a way home. But what is home? Where is home? And is home better or worse than where they are now?

Dashner's sci fi YA novel is full of science fiction and drama and the stakes are high. It is a battle between life and death. Strength and weakness. Trust and mistrust. And it works well in this post-apocalyptic world.

I enjoyed the book. It's well written. Characters are well drawn out. And the tension is high. It's a page turner because we never really know what's the truth. The mystery is solid, and only at the end do we get a glimpse of what really might be going on. But not too much because, after all, there's a sequel that will send these survivors on another journey. This time outside of the maze, but perhaps even more deadly.

I look forward to reading Book 2 when it arrives from the library. I'm a library whore. Sometimes reading three books at a time (started World War Z as I was finishing this one off).

I give it a solid B+ with A overtones.

Friday, May 6, 2011

ADELE'S "Turning Tables"

A great song. Personal, and honest. The kind of song that resonates with heartbreak. Something most humans have experienced in their lifetime. There are many songs about this age old theme, but ADELE has captured something haunting that not very many musicians can capture. I like it for its simplicity, and the poetic nature of the lyrics, and, of course, for ADELE'S powerful voice. And for someone so young, she has a wise(ness) beyond her years, at least when she sings.


Close enough to start a war
All that I have is on the floor
God only knows what we're fighting for
All that I say, you always say more

I can't keep up with your turning tables
Under your thumb, I can't breathe

So I won't let you close enough to hurt me
No, I won't ask you, you to just desert me
I cant give you, what you think you gave me
It's time to say goodbye to turning tables
To turning tables

Under hardest guise I see ooh
Where love is lost, your ghost is found
I braved a hundred storms to leave you
As hard as you try, no I will never be knocked down

I can't keep up with your turning tables
Under your thumb, I can't breathe

So I won't let you close enough to hurt me, no
I won't ask you, you to just desert me
I cant give you, what you think you gave me
It's time to say goodbye to turning tables
Turning tables

Next time I'll be braver
I'll be my own savior
When the thunder calls for me
Next time I'll be braver
I'll be my own savior
Standing on my own two feet

I won't let you close enough to hurt me, no
I won't ask you, you to just desert me
I cant give you, what you think you gave me
It's time to say goodbye to turning tables
To turning tables
Turning tables, yeah
Turning ohh