Another quick update on some books and movies I've read or seen recently.
I recently finished "Mother Night" by Kurt Vonnegut. I really love Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse 5 is amazing, Cat's Cradle, Enter the Monkey House, etc. are all great. They all are fun to read, creative, and make you think about bigger issues. This book revolves around events in WWII. I think it's interesting when Vonnegut writes about WWII, because he really was in the war. Slaughterhouse 5, my favorite book by him, is partially made up of the true story of his experience as a prisoner of war in Dresden when it was bombed. This book is written as the memoir of Howard Campbell Jr., a man currently being tried as a war criminal for his participation in WWII. He's an American, but lived in Germany during WWII. He became an American spy (though he can't prove it) and infiltrated the Nazi's - he became a famous radio propagandist. In the introduction to 'Mother Night', Vonnegut says its the only book he's written for which he knows what the moral is supposed to be: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Definitely a recommended read.
We watched "Howl's Moving Castle" recently - this movie was made by the same people who did Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away (both great movies). I loved the animation - the moving castle itself is just awesome-looking. The story-line was pretty good, though not as good as Spirited Away, I think. Still worth seeing.
The last one is the oddest. I saw a movie called "Repo: The Genetic Opera." I think the best way to describe the feeling of the movie is to say it's a combination of Sin City (with the comic book images and the comic-book feel to the live action), Evil Dead (because of copious blood and dark humor), and Rocky Horror Picture Show (because of the whole cult classic musical aspect). I actually did enjoy the movie - it's creative, visually interesting, and occasionally funny. The premise is that organ transplants have become a fashion statement, and they're now very common. To finance the operations, people take out loans. Then, a law is passed that if the loans aren't paid, the organs can be repossessed (hence the title - Repo). An interesting tidbit is that Paris Hilton is in the movie, which is a bit odd - it doesn't really seem like her genre. However, she doesn't have a ton of screen time, and her face falls off, so don't let her presence stop you from watching. :) If you read this description and think it sounds cool, you'll probably love the movie, otherwise you might want to skip it - this movie's good, but maybe not for everyone.