Saturday, May 31, 2008

Movies and a Book

While traveling around I finally had time to read a book for fun (yay, summer vacation!) and watch a few more movies. Here's what I've got:

Water for Elephants
This is novel about a man who works on a circus in the 1930's. It's a fairly dark book, but reads quickly and is interesting. The author actually did a good amount of research into circuses and into the time period in general, so there are some situations pulled from real life - I recommend reading her notes on this, which are included at the end of the novel. Good summer read. (Another interesting thing about this book is that my copy had a mis-print so the first 25 pages or so were printed upside-down, which mean everyone around me at that time thought I was a complete moron...)

Judge Dredd
This movie takes place in a dystopian future and stars Sylvester Stalone - do you really need to know anything else about it? He's a policeman/judge that can catch a criminal and sentence him immediately, but you'll never guess what happens... he gets framed and he gets sentenced! So then he has to escape, clear his name, and save the world from the person who framed him. If you like campy scifi and over the top action (which I do), you'll love this movie.

Heartbreak Kid
Ugh. Don't see this. Starring Ben Stiller, I expected it to be a vaguely funny, stupid slap-stick comedy, and even that was expecting too much. It's not even that some of the jokes aren't funny, it's that there are long spans (in a pretty short move) that don't even attempt to be funny. Many of the situations are just sad - a woman with third-degree sunburns, a guy cheating on his honeymoon. Other situations with the potential to be funny, like Ben Stiller trying to escape Mexico by crossing the boarder illegally, are just drawn out and boring.

I wasn't sure what I thought about this movie when I first finished it, but it's beginning to grow on me. It was another movie set in a dystopian future with a fight between robots and humans. It stars Harrison Ford, the best robot-hunter (bladerunner) around, and it stars Rutger Hauer as the leader of the escaped robots. It had a familiar theme - robots rebel against humans, humans ruthlessly hunt robots, not all robots are evil, perhaps the humans are the bad guys, etc. (though perhaps in the 1980's when it came out this was all new). <> One thing I've decided I like about it is that though the robots are perhaps not actually bad, and mostly are just wanting to live, Harrison Ford (the hero) hunts them down anyway. Just an interesting twist that keeps the movie from being tied up too neatly.

L4yer Cake
This is a British Movie starring Daniel Craig (James Bond from Casino Royale) as a cocaine dealer. It has lots of characters and interesting plot twists, which keeps it interesting. It reminds me vaguely of a mix between Snatch and Pulp Fiction, which are both movies I enjoyed quite a bit. The only thing bothering me is that I still don't get why the A in the title was changed to the number 4. (Adam, I don't think the fact that 4 and A look similar is a good enough reason to just switch them whenever you feel like it...)

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