Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Action Flicks with High Schoolers

Alright so here are two movies that I actually quite enjoyed. Both were action movies centered on some high school students that were basically the coolest kids you would ever want to know. They are as follows:

8. Abduction - I was not dying to see this movie, thought it looked pretty cheesy and ridiculous from the previews. I was actually pretty surprised on how much I liked it. Taylor Lautner is yummy as usual, too fit to be humanly possible. His character is raised by parents who he finds out are not his birth parents by seeing his pic on a missing persons website. That made me laugh a little, because really? What are the odds that he's scrolling through the site and the 5th photo he sees looks shockingly a lot like him, and makes him question his whole life? But then the deeper truth is even crazier than that. It was as if the Bourne Identity meets high school, except it's not that he couldn't remember his past, he just didn't know the truth. And of course he had been trained to kick serious ass. One of the best scenes is between him and his "father" and they are training together, which becomes just a father and son beat down on each other. I would recommend as a good action flick.

9. Chronicle - I absolutely loved this movie. My brother had told me about it and had given it rave reviews. All I got from the commercial is that the movie was about a couple of guys who somehow got powers. It reminded me of The Covenant based on the commercials, and other than having four really hot guys with no shirts on most the time, that movie was bloody terrible. Thankfully, Chronicle exceeded every expectation I had. I don't want to give too much away, as I would recommend everyone go see it. It is funny and dark, showing how these 3 kids acquire special powers, and how they mess around with it. Really well done.

I am really slacking in my book reading. Hopefully that changes otherwise there is no way I will complete this challenge!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

1 - Shantaram

Alright my first completed book of the year is Shantaram, by Gregory David. I had recently joined a book club in San Diego to meet some people, so this was the selection. I enjoyed this story, as it was interesting and I kept picking up the book when I had some down time. I really wanted to hear what else happened. There were definitely portions of the novel that I did get bored with, or was just lost in the meandering philosophies of some of the characters, but overall I thought it was a decent read. 

Let me give you a brief summary. This is a story about an Australian man who escapes from prison and flees to Bombay, India. The novel opens once he is in Bombay and the craziness that happens to him and around him while living there. He lives in the slums at one point, becomes the slum doctor, he falls in love, joins the Bombay mafia, is a gunrunner to the war in Afghanistan, thrown in the Bombay prison and basically tortured for months....yeah the list goes on and on.

My real issue with the book was that I did not care for the main character, Lin or "Shataram" as he is eventually called. He was just not someone I could sympathize with. He put himself into all these terrible situations, was a cleaned up addict on one hand, but an escaped convict who seemed to me like he was almost trying very hard to get caught again with all the shenanigans he got involved in. Perhaps it was just that he was used to this life of crime that had put him in jail, that it just seemed like the only thing he could do with his life.

Can I just tell you the best part though, of this whole ridiculous story, this book is based on true events of the author! I mean its so far fetched at parts, that I just can't imagine this all happening to one man. The character also always seemed to be blindly following the people he cared about, he was a man of action first, the reasoning behind it to be an afterthought, if a thought at all. Maybe that was another thing that bothered me, as I need reasons or justifications for my actions, and this guy didn't need someone to tell him the why, he just would jump to do what they needed.

I would say 3.5 out of 5 stars, if I had to rate it. I was intrigued to read more, but the end of the novel also left me rather frustrated.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

January Movies - Part 2

Okay, so just to state again I have decided to blog on my 50/50 challenge to myself, to watch 50 movies and read 50 books in 2012. Here are the rest of the movies I watched in January along with my brief reviews of each one:

4. China Moon: This was a random movie that I watched with my boyfriend Bradley when we first moved into our new apartment early this month. So we are putting together our Ikea furniture and the only channel we can get on our TV is this channel playing really ridiculous movies and re-runs of old people tv shows (like Matlock). So yeah, this movie was pretty glorious. It starred a really young Ed Harris (with hair on his head, so that takes him back a few years), a young Benicio Del Toro, and Madeline Stowe. The movie has deception, love, betrayal, abusive husbands and crazy plot twists. I found myself actually really enjoying it while laughing and making fun of it at the same time. I mean, of course the by-the-book cop who notices every detail would fall in love with the domestically abused wife, sleep with her, and then assist in a cover up to make the perfect crime. And that is only one piece of this tale of love and betrayal.

5.  Larry Crowne: Honestly, I kinda expected more out of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. The movie was okay. There were some funny parts, some ridiculous parts (like really? Larry Crowne gets picked to be in the Scooter gang? Which of course is led by non-other than Wilmer Valderrama...seriously who believes Fez in this kind of role? Not this guy...) Larry Crowne was cute but overall the movie left me wanting more. Julia Roberts as the teacher that had given up on her students and her career of making a difference in their lives, she was just so bitter and mean that I couldn't really sympathize with her character. It was a cutesy romantic comedy, but all in all I was expecting a different kind of movie.

6. Contraband: The plot was centered around the main character (played by Mark Wahlberg) trying to get his wife's younger brother out of a sticky situation he got himself into, not delivering on some drug smuggling deal he was involved with Giovanni Ribisi (put in name of creepy looking drug dealer and you got him). Of course, Mark Wahlberg's character is a retired smuggler trying to stay in the straight life. Does this not almost seem the exact same plot as Gone in 60 Seconds? Except in the drug world and not car thefts? The movie was entertaining but I sat there just thinking, I am pretty sure I watched this before...

7. Ides of March: This movie was entertaining, but I thought the hype for it was past what the movie delivered. Ryan Gosling was oozing his usual charisma and Marissa Tomei I thought played the strong reporter out for the story very well. The corruption of people in the political world is always a riveting movie, especially when you see characters who really thought they knew the world they were in, only to get it completely wrong and twisted. And how that lifestyle can ultimately corrupt you...

Alright from now on I will be posting just one movie/book per post. I had to play catch up so I did my brief re-caps here.