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.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I don't like Cats


Cats hiss and piss all over the place
If you're not careful they'll scratch your face.
They prance, and prowl with their ass high in the air,
showing off their nuts, and bits, and their hair down there!
Sure, they snuggle and cuddle, and purr,
and sometimes they have soft, silky fur,
but they act like they own everything in the house,
and they'd rather drink milk than run, and catch a mouse.
They're waiting to take over the planet.
They're evil, and I swear they killed Janet!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Her Boyfriend Wrote a book about Her


Hilary Winston's ex wrote a "fiction" book about her, the fat-assed girlfriend was her moniker. So Hilary decided to write a non-fiction book about her ex, and other men she's dated. It's not a revenge tale, just her version of the truth of her love life. Hilary is a sitcom writer so I expected to laugh out loud, but I didn't really find the book that funny. That being said, I think it was well written, and I enjoyed reading it. But if you're expecting gut wrenching laughter like Tina Fey's Bossypants, well then you'll be disappointed. But if you just want to read about a woman's dating woes then this is the right book for you.

In My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About me (and other stories I shouldn't share with acquaintances, coworkers, taxi drivers, assistants, job interviewers, bikini waxers, and ex/current.future boyfriends but have), Hilary shares with us her dating ups and downs, her weight ups and downs, and her one true love, her cat, Emmett. Hilary is a cat person. I am not. In fact, I am the opposite of a cat person. If I ever buy a cat and live alone with one then please just put me out of my misery. Hilary has dated a lot of men, some okay, some meh, some suck, but not many are great. The one who she thought was great ended up writing a book about their relationship (apparently, he was too lazy to use his imagination) and this book forces Hilary to take stock of her love life.

And as she does, we hear about her gay boyfriends, her jerk boyfriends, her peeing cat, and her desire to become a successful writer (which she has done). Overall, I am glad that I've not had Hilary's dating life (too depressing), but I have my own fair share of crappy men in my life (maybe I'll write a book about them one day if I am not too lazy). But one thing I take from this book is that I should definitely date men who can't read or write, so I won't ever be brought to life in a novel as the small breasted girlfriend.

by the way, the title of her ex's novel is The Average American Male: A Novel by Chad Kultgen. I think I'll skip that book, and wait for Hilary to one day write a novel of her own. I'm sure the lead will be an atheist catwoman from outerspace.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In Film. ONE DAY, the book, comes to the big screen


I've been awaiting the arrival of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew to the big screen for a year, and I'm glad they finally arrived. ONE DAY, a book by David Nicholls, is a book that I loved. It was an emotional powerhouse of a novel, and the movie, written by Nicholls as well, delivers. Is it as good as the book? No. Most adaptations pale in comparison to the literary source, but it does a pretty damn good job.

I went into the film with low expectations, as I didn't want to be disappointed, and I wasn't. I really enjoyed the film. Anne Hathaway does a good job as Emma. Her accent, as some critics have criticized, was fine. I was more interested in her character. If she could encapsulate Emma's inner turmoil, her sweetness, her smarts, her love for Dexter, and she does. But it's Jim Sturgess who really shines in his role as Dexter. The cocky kid with addictions and narcissism, but who is so much more than what we see. His journey towards a stable adult was handled well. I really felt for him, and even though I knew what the ending was, I couldn't help rooting for him.

I think this adaptation is for those of us who read the book. If you're coming into this movie, without the background knowledge, it might not resonate as well with you. The beginning is a bit rough and jumpy, and it had me concerned that it would be too episodic. By having read the book, I knew exactly how the characters felt and where they were coming from, which makes for a more well rounded cinematic experience.

If you don't know, the basic plot is a relationship is shown between two people on the same day, July 15, for 20 years. We watch these characters be almost lovers, to friends, to not friends, to perhaps lovers, and so on. The book and film both capture the reality of such a relationship. It isn't glamorized. It is so real to read and watch that one can't help but be pulled into it emotionally. And that's what happened to me. I cried, once again, at the story of Dexter and Emma. I had to hold back a lot of the tears, as I was teetering on the brink of going into the ugly cry. When I read the book, I sobbed, and it was a full body experience. Since I was watching the film in a public place, I forced myself NOT to sob too much.

If you can get your hands on the book, and give it a read then I suggest reading it first then heading off to the movie on the weekend to experience it again!

Overall, I give it an 8 out of 10 as it was an emotionally satisfying time at the cinema.



Bonus feature: My initial book review from almost a year ago.
http://screenspinster.blogspot.com/2010/09/short-and-sweet-and-to-point-book.html

Monday, August 15, 2011

In Books: The Invention of Hugo Cabret By Brian Selznick


The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a wonderful literary experience. It's part picture book, novel, graphic novel with cinematic images. The work of art by Brian Selznick is being made into a film by Martin Scorcese, but do yourself a favour and read the book first. It's a thick book, but can be read within a couple of hours, as a majority of the book is filled with Selznick's pencil drawings. Images that look timeless and transport you into the world he's created.

Hugo lives in the train station, inside its walls, and he takes care of the clocks, and steals food to stay alive. He's had a tough life, but he holds onto hope in the form of a notebook his father left behind. It shows him how to fix an automaton* that his father had rescued from the attic of the museum he worked at before he died. Hugo dreams that the automaton has one last message for him from his father. But the crotchety old Toy Maker who sells his creations at the station gets in his way and this is where the mystery of the book comes alive.

The book is written in a way that is sweet and, dare I say it again, timeless. It's perfect for young and old as it captures the innocence, not just of a time long gone (the 1930's in Paris) but the beginnings of new things. When we were young and full of dreams. The story, for me, was like a time machine. It took me right into this busy train station, it made me believe in elements of magic, and the possibilities of our dreams coming true (the cynic in me liked the reprieve). If you have a couple of hours, or even if you don't, make the time to read this book. In its simplicity you'll find something worthwhile even if it only lasts the afternoon.


* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automaton

3 Movies in a Nuthsell: Apes, stupid love, all under 30 minutes or less




I've seen a few films in the last couple of weeks, but I've been too lazy to write about them, so I'll just put them all under one review.

What do Apes, Ryan Gosling's abs, and pizza have in common? Nothing much. All three movies are relatively new to the theatres, with Rise of the Planet of the Apes being the breakout hit amongst the three. The ape movie is good, not great. But it has its moments. Andy Serkis, who plays the lead chimp, Caesar, is the best actor in the entire film. He, and John Lithgow do a good job, but James Franco, the human lead, phones in his performance. I'm not sure if his eyes are stoned, or just dead. Anyway, the film is a prequel of sorts to to the planet of the apes, and it's an interesting idea. Will Rodman, played by Franco, is a scientist who is experimenting on apes with a new drug to fight alzheimer's. He creates a drug that works on chimps, making them smarter, but it might actually be a detriment to human kind. It's leaps and bounds better than the Tim Burton remake of 2001. That movie was a horrible mess with no redeeming quality. This latest installment, at least, tries to respect its audience and take itself seriously. If you're a fan of the ape movies and the book that inspired them then it's definitely a must see. I give it a solid 7 out of 10.

Crazy, Stupid, Love (which I think has an extra comma, as you can be crazy, and you can be stupid, but you can't be love, but love can be crazy and stupid, just without a comma. Confused?) is meant to be a comedy, but it comes across as a drama with comedic moment. I didn't really laugh until the end of Act Two where physical comedy takes over in a scene of chaos and twists and turns. But up until then the film is rather boring. It's not a bad boring, it's just very predictable with characters who sometimes come across as caricatures. Steve Carell is sweet in his role as a father who gets recently dumped by his wife, Julianne Moore, who is bored. They're a boring couple who got together much too young, but who may still be soulmates. Ugh. Soulmates? That word makes me cringe. It's an overused word, and theme, and it's contrived and rings false, not just in movies, but in real life too. Anyway, Ryan Gosling is good in his role as a womanizer who teaches Carell how to be a ladies' man, and who eventually falls in love with Emma Stone's character. (Stone is everywhere, see previous blog posts on her) Gosling's body is absolutely stunning. Kudos to him on making it fat free, now please go have a chocolate sundae with extra toppings. The film is harmless, but there's nothing new to discover in these relationships. A renter. 6.5 out of 10.

The latest film that I've seen is 30 Minutes or Less. A slacker, low brow type of comedy about a serious situation. A pizza delivery man (Jesse Eisenberg) is going nowhere in his life, then one night he is kidnapped and a bomb is strapped to his body and he's told to rob a bank, or else he dies. The kidnappers are two buttheads played by Nick Swardson and Danny McBride. They, too, are slackers, but slackers with a panache for bombs and violence. They need the bank money to hire a hitman to kill McBride's dad, so that they can claim a large inheritance, They want the money so that they can open a tanning salon that is a front for prostitution. Phew. Got that? The film has some funny moments, but overall, it doesn't have enough of a plot to fuel a full length film. There is a lot of talking in this film, and the kind of talking that feels like filler rather than plot driven or character revealing. I like the actors who are involved, and the Director made Zomebieland, which I enjoyed. But this time around, it just doesn't work as well. It's also loosely based on a real life event where the pizza guy was actually killed by the bomb. 6 out of 10.

And that sums up the last two weeks at the movie for me. Overall, this summer has been disappointing at the cinema.