Movies: I Rarely Watch Them

Hello there, Summer has prevented me from keeping this blog somewhat alive. I’m also doing other things on the side and then there is the occasional funk that makes reading, writing, and blogging,  a sort of chore, a bore, and a total hammer to my hands and head. However, here is a new segment for this blog and it is, yeah, you know it because of the blatantly obvious title on top, movies! The one run-on sentence movie reviews, that I will make as pretentious as possible, close to the blurbs that you see on the back of novels, when you go book shopping or library browsing. So, I promise this will be the last sentence of back story or whatever, there will the occasional talk about movies on here. Let’s go now, stop stalling. EDIT: I added in genre tags.


Movies I watched in 2013 – 2014 (The ones I can remember or deem most memorable)



Hana-Bi (Fireworks) 

Directed by Takeshi Kitano 
Released: 1997
Country: Japan
Genre: Crime/ Thriller, Romance with a small dose of comedy, Yakuza film 
Language: Japanese (with English Subtitles)

An absurd and brutal Yakuza thriller, with sweet but distant love, and the bloodshed and artwork of life’s cruel fates. 

4/5

(I have actually reviewed this movie before but deleted it due to my lack of movie watching, because there was a section dedicated to movies.)


The Mudge Boy 

Directed by Michael Burke 
Released: 2003
Country: United States
Genre: Drama, Indie 
Language: English

A sort of coming of age or maybe the confusion and pain of being an individual, young, and maybe just a bit clueless about oneself, a brave attempt at understanding at an age where everything seems so incomprehensible, frightening, and cryptic. 

4.5/5

Ip Man 1 and 2

Edit: The image of the English version poster of the second movie was broken. So I had to add a new one that is actually a wallpaper of the poster, then I actually found the poster and ended up deleting the wallpaper one. The picturedoesn’t want to cooperate, so now everything looks messed up over here. 


Directed By Wilson Yip 
Released: 2008 (Ip Man 1) and 2010 (Ip  Man 2)
Country: Hong Kong
Genre: Semi Autobiographical, Kungfu
Language: Cantonese (With English Dub and Subtitles)

A kungfu epic that even the younger generation, who are sick of seeing the same kungfu frenzy generation movies, will love this  heroic gentlemen, as he punches through China’s brutal battle with history from World War II to Hong Kong’s British invasion.

5/5 (Ip Man 1)  3/5 (Ip Man 2)

A Public Ransom

Directed by Pablo D’Stair
Released: 2014
Country: United States
Genre: Noir, Drama, Indie
Language: English

A film of human ennui, immorality, and narcissism, where the mix seems to cause an inner and outer downfall, a collapse of a writer’s fantasy, the people around him, and his sense of reality. 

4/5

Donnie Darko

Directed by Richard Kelly
Released: 2001
Country: United States
Genre: Supernatural, Surrealism?
Language: English

Everyone knows this movie and I was the last one on Earth to see it. Not even going to bother.

5/5

Interview With a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles



Directed by Neil Jordan
Released: 1994
Country: United States
Genre: Supernatural, Drama, Based on a novel 
Language: English

Another movie everyone has seen. Tragic, bittersweet, a romance of darkness and the hope for lightness, but instead, eternal isolation, Tom Cruise is the perfect Lestat, so well performed, even more obnoxious and spiteful than the one in the novel, fits him perfectly. 

5/5

That’s all I can remember for now. More will come soon, if I watch anymore movies. Maybe the next Pablo D’Stair movie?






Advertisements

The Box and the Briefcase, the Moleque and the Old Man and the First Coming of the Second Son of God by John M. Keller (Advanced Readers Copy)

21462352

Pages: 302
Genre: Literary Fiction? Science Fiction? Mystery? Everything combined?
Format: E-book
Published by Dr. Cicero Books
I was given this book for review by the publisher. Thank you, Sorry for the lateness. I guess I can say this is an Advanced Reader’s Copy, because it was given before the publishing date.
Here is a Dr. Cicero Book, a  third one to appear on this blog, the second one to be read by me, and the third one written by John M. Keller, who is the author of Know Your Baker and the short story collection, A Bald Man with No Hair and Other Stories. That’s a run on sentence, most likely. This is the summer of small press, but it seems like that’s all I have been reading for the past few months. I don’t regret that, because a lot of these writers destroy the boundaries or some of them stay in, but manage to scrape the borders a bit. What I’m really trying to say is that they’re a breath of fresh air. At first, I felt bad for not finishing Know Your Baker, because I kind of felt that I missed out on a great writer, despite that’s in my kindle, but then I read A Bald Man with No Hair and Other Stories, which had all of the elements I enjoyed, character driven or the whole concept of human life, with a twist of a bit of magical realism, some absurdity, or just odd coincidences or luck. Here’s his third novel.
Well here’s the plot, I don’t want to spoil anything, so here’s the Goodreads synopsis:
From the author of Know Your Baker, John M. Keller’s second novel explores the gated city of Beverly Hills, Brazil, capital and seedbed of the world’s soap opera industry, sitting halfway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, a place no one ever goes to or leaves, where admission depends upon meeting a beauty requirement. Sylmara, a young actress on the brink of becoming the city’s next great export, is shocked when her celebrity aunt, famous for her award-winning breasts, and in whose footsteps Sylmara is poised to follow, leaves the community without telling anyone and immediately turns up dead. Will Sylmara follow suit by leaving, also dying in the favelas just outside the gates?
Hopefully, this review doesn’t sound like a disaster, because currently, as I type on this keyboard, I’m in that hyper mood, where it’s hard for me to concentrate and I feel like running around the house. (This was a Saturday afternoon, putting this here in case this gets posted the next day)

This is a novel that feels like one of those literary fiction novels where the writer questions the world that surrounds us, studying our interior and exterior. While reading this novel, I thought of a ton of different books and movies that shared that fear of the future and that one change that will impact people forever, losing our humanity. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, a Young Adult Science Fiction novel, that takes place in  a future where teens have the choice to have plastic surgery and live in a “pretty” fantastical world. Of course, there’s something sinister lurking underneath all of that. I also thought of the infamous director M. Night Shyamalan and his movie The Village, which in my opinion was his best movie, where people are barricaded in a small village and fear what is outside the borders of their home. All three of these stories explore the human nature. I kind of have a hard time explaining this without sounding like a broken record or spoiling the plot.

The novel is told through three different perspectives (in third person view, allowing the reader to witness the events through their own eyes). One is through Sylmara, who aches for the real world, who leaves the walls of the fantasy land of Beverly Hills, to find out why it exists.  The second perspective is through Jucélia, who leaves the bad parts of Brazil to live in the more glamorous, crime free land (Taking place years before). Her perspective explores her relationship with all the she men loves and the choices that will affect her life forever. The other perspective is through a man named Edmond Foreman, who is a workaholic of sorts, a perfectionist, who strives for the best of all. Only to lose everything he thought was important to him. As you read on, everything pieces together, a sort of quilt that eventually formed Sylmara and Beverly Hills.
Most people would assume that this novel would be a science fiction or a post-apocalyptic novel. Like Uglies, the plastic surgery or restorations were made to push up people’s ego, self-confidence, and images in order to ignore reality, however, there is always that one person who is in control of all of this. So in a sense, ignoring reality and pain is a sort of brainwashing, because most of the time there is someone behind the scenes, who has the privilege and the skill to create the facade and the dream. There is no such thing as a fantasy or a better reality because they are both constructed by the hands of reality itself, the cruelty, the coldness. The people of The Box and the Briefcase are all trying to escape a world of  violence, sickness, and the general ugliness of the human race. Hence is why they trapped themselves in a city filled with pleasures and perfection. People can fulfill their materialistic needs, their shallowness, and never have to worry about getting robbed and murdered. 
However, the main character, the whole entire equation is Sylmara and the others are the answers, the reason why Beverly Hills exist. She is one of the people who noticed that ignoring the real thing is just as sinful than enduring it. That’s why novels like this are possibly some of the most haunting, because it’s coming soon. People are already doing it, especially the ones that are privileged enough and have the money to do it. They always say “Money doesn’t bring happiness,” that saying is almost a cliche, since it is overused and no matter how many times you say it, someone will either disagree or just continue on in their own world. I honestly feel like I’m not doing justice for this novel with this review.
I find novels like The Box and the Briefcase (it’s a long title, please excuse me) to be quite haunting (and better than the other sorts of media I compared it to) because it seemed a bit more realistic. In real life, people are trying to escape the poverty and achieve fantasies in accessible containers and surgeries. We go to the mall and consume everything, buy, buy, all the objects that we probably don’t need, like designer purses that are actually pretty ugly despite the Gucci tag, shoes that are hard to walk in but scream FASHION! and clothing that doesn’t even fit us but scream SEX APPEAL! or LOTS OF CASH! Then we shoot pictures of people and exaggerate their features and slap them on billboards. We all look up and say I want that nose bridge, those cheekbones, those breasts. I don’t want wrinkles or age spots, or a flat nose or a nose that’s too big and pointy, or a certain skin tone, and I want that trimmed magazine body. 
We want to look good, in the unreal fantastical way, human dolls, and then we forget that we can have that disintegrate when the fatal sicknesses come in. We want all of this perfection and in reality, we look fine, we’re doing fine most of the time, and there is nothing we can do about it. The Earth will still rotate on and all of this beauty and material items are temporary, as soon as the crust of the Earth opens and explodes, none of that will be around, including us. What I’m saying has already been said and written multiple times. However, what most people don’t notice is that we lose ourselves in all of this, even now, as we stare at iPads all day and play Flappy Bird (except for me,I just read till my eyes explode and then I play Super Mario Galaxy and lose all of my lives by falling into the same hole over and over and not learning from my mistakes.)  We lose what makes us human, imperfections are the reasons why life can be so fascinating and so disgusting. A plastic being is a despicable being. Well, that’s a little cruel. 
What more can I say? Well, I will say that this novel, compared to Keller’s previous ones, his writing has grown a lot more matured, a lot more confident in its sentences. I guarantee that this blog has so many punctuation and grammar mistakes that the sentence above would seem odd coming out of this hulk of text. Keller  has used words to discover the meaning of life and to understand our inner flaws. He also used words from a variety of different languages in his stories, which in my opinion is one of the best ways to envelop a reader into a country and a culture. Oddly enough, some people find that alienating, I’m not sure why, that never bothered me. Then I noticed that most of the people who say that are typically quite ignorant of other people’s cultures, but I could be wrong. The whole novel itself is a lot different from his other works and possibly maybe his best so far. I hope this review all makes sense, I don’t even like to call these reviews sometimes, because they kind of aren’t compared to the more popular, professional ones. It’s more like my thoughts, the ones that floated in and out of my ears as I read it. Well, that’s it I guess, don’t be a moleque or be a good moleque. I searched that word online and found the definition, and probably used it wrong. 再见! (Goodbye) I don’t speak fluent Chinese, yet, maybe ten years later. 
Rating: 5/5

Cienfuegos by Chris Deal

12814512

Pages: 48
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories, Flash Fiction or Micro-fiction
Format: E-book
Published by KUBOA Press

I don’t remember how I found this press, maybe somewhere, somehow on Twitter? There were a few small press authors I knew the name of, but couldn’t remember where I had discovered them. Anyway, this is the second KUBOA book that will appear on this blog, the first one was It Smells Like Plastic and Hurt Feelings by J. Bradley . The last time I had read something similar to this, flash fiction or micro fiction wise, it was I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying by Matthew Salesses , or maybe Blurb by Ravi Mangla. I really messed up those links, if I try to fix it, something terrible will happen.

There won’t be much for me to say, since these are all short fictions, small little sentences, short films, packed with a story or a vision. I always found this type of fiction to be something brilliant and fascinating, how could a person cultivate a story in one sentence or paragraph? How is it possible to draw up the scene and bring it down to an ending without wasting time and words, without struggling to make logical sense out of it. Then I think that sometimes stories don’t have to have conventional logic, it’s up to the writer or the reader. This type of fiction seems to focus more on the feeling, the adrenaline, the fear, and the unknown.; With small, words and sentences with a punch, struggling to get everything down in a limited space. Am I exaggerating this? Probably. It’s a claustrophobic type of work where you write poetry and prose all at the same time, just to paint the perfect picture. Just to get down the right words without the filler and the superfluous.This is the type of writing that lonely bookworms write during phases of boredom in the back of a notebook. This is the type of writing that you struggle to leak out of your mind, as you write on paper, squeezing it out into something tangible. Even if it doesn’t make any sense, because most things don’t make sense anyway.

Rating: 4/5



BloodLight: The Apocalypse of Robert Goldner (Eve of Light 0.5) by Harambee K. Grey-Sun (Advanced Reader’s Copy)

22422486

Pages: 220
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA/NA
Format: E-book
Published by HyperVerse Books
This is an Advanced Readers Copy Received from Netgalley

Imagine what would happen if a fantasy became best friends with the surrealists and decided to accept Jesus Christ into the crowd too? It would probably become BloodLight , this novel tells the story of Robert Goldner and his own personal apocalypse. He is one of the few African Americans in a mostly White school in Virginia. He lives in a world where everything seems to be sort of a competition for survival, where a person like him, due to his skin color, will not be able to live long, if he doesn’t step up his game. He scores the highest, is considered the best on his wrestling team, and stays true to the goal of being on top. He also has his flaws and secrets that he represses in order to keep his sense of security and confidence in its stable state. However, when he finds himself wandering in hallucinations and breakdowns, discovering his injured and his  only true friend disappear into the hospital, and his repressed insecurities slowly leaking out into the wrong ears, his own world and his own cultivated identity falls into shambles. Hence, it’s why this is Robert Goldner’s apocalypse.

This novel seems to have received rather mixed reviews, and despite that I enjoyed this novel, I could understand why. At the same time, however, I think people just didn’t understand what was happening, there was too much surrealism and less explanation, to the point where I assumed that this was labeled wrong and thought that it was a magical realist novel, because without the hints or explanations, that was what it felt like. I was proven wrong when I found it was a series, this novel was a prequel, and all of the pieces to the mystery was revealed towards the end. Stupidly, I realized that it was indeed a fantasy novel, a coming of age, finding your identity novel. I thought the novel did well in its plan of torturing the readers to find the answer. Although, I kind of knew already from the beginning, Robert Goldner was the chosen one, all of his visions and episodes were just the realities kicking in, the powers growing in, the warnings of his future and past existence.

I enjoyed this novel from beginning to end. I will admit that I sort of skimmed through the wrestling parts, because they were written in a sort of mechanic way, step by step, which isn’t much of a bad thing, he’s laying it right there. I have read two novels so far, where the act of wrestling was depicted as more of a dance than a system of steps. So maybe it’s my fault, since I was never a person that was interested in sports. The prose itself is written in a sort of poetic way that describes and lifts the scenes off the paper or the screen in my case, it’s not pretentious, but yet it paints the events out in way that fits the broken intellectual that Robert Goldner is. Sometimes I have a difficult time describing prose, but that’s all I can think of. He’s not James Baldwin, but he can write some nice sentences. 

I might be the minority in the crowd, but I actually found this novel quite enjoyable, but then I always loved bizarre fiction. I can understand why everyone lifted up a brow and had a question above their heads, because it’s freaking weird. God lost his sanity, there’s crazy horror story, alien stuff going around, and then well, people are weird. I like weird though. Anybody who reads my blog knows that I love magical realism or books that don’t fall into the conventional story telling. I guess everyone has their own taste in tea or something.  Go get your own cup.

Why the hell did I write this review in present tense? 
Rating: 4/5


A Life of Death: The Complete First Novel by Weston Kincade (Advanced Readers Copy)

22426457

Pages: 203
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Mystery
Format: E-book
Published by Books of the Dead Press
This Was Sent By The Author For An Honest Review

The author sent me this and I happen to check my email in the morning. I thought that I should give it a try, it’s a coming of age story, a genre that I am fond of, because I’m still growing. Well, we all grow older every day or so. Anyway, I guess I can say that this is a YA novel, here and there, those books have been read and being added to my Goodreads shelf. 

A Life of Death is a series of episodes, possibly 8 episodes, a short series, then they were combined into one volume, like a TV show series being packed into a DVD. The whole novel centers around the main character’s power to see dead people’s past moments before their demise. He comes from a dysfunctional family, formed by the step father who replaced the late biological father,  has few friends, and with the supernatural gift thrown in, his life is flipped upside down.

The gift of the dead is what makes this novel stand out from most YA novels, however, I can’t be too strong with that opinion, because I haven’t really read much YA from that genre.  A Life of Death is literally a combination of supernatural, a mystery,a thriller, and a coming of age all at the same time. It’s sort of a breathe of fresh air.

The gift teaches the main character, Alex Drummond, to appreciate life a bit more, despite its flaws. In a sort of odd way, the character grows up after many death encounters. As if death itself had taught him to cope with living. Even through the worst circumstances, life can be worth living. Death is an eternal slumber that should only be done after experiencing the best you can find and the worst you can deal with. It’s an ending, that should be executed appropriately. Okay, that sentence sounded like ritual suicide stuff. I’m pretty sure you get what I mean. 

What I didn’t like about the book was the prose, it wasn’t really catching me much, it was simple, but I don’t know how to explain, because there’s nothing wrong with simplicity, sometimes I prefer minimalism. However, there was something about the writing that made it hard for me to stay absorbed into it. Most likely, the reason was because I was going through a funk, where I didn’t feel like reading, but at the same time I wanted to. Oh life, sometimes summer makes it hard for me to read more, despite the abundant free time. 

It was fairly enjoyable though, it’s great for anybody looking for  supernatural stories or coming of age tales, with a little detective twist to it.The author is an editor…. I hope there isn’t anything in here, grammar and punctuation related, that will make his eyes bleed too much. 

                                                                  Rating: 3.5/5


Rocket Girl Volume 1 by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder (Advanced Readers Copy)

Pages: 120
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: E-book (Advance Readers Copy)
Published by Image Comics

This is an Advanced Readers Copy Received From Netgalley

A graphic novel that takes place in the future, no wait, it takes place in the future and in the 80s. it switches from present to past, from the 1980s to 2013, to somewhere in between that. The main character is an adorable teenage police officer with rocket shoes and the cleverness of maybe a jokester, I guess. She’s good at escaping, tricking people, and basically surviving to change the past, to fix the troubled future.

I tried not to explain this without ruining anything, but to be honest, I wasn’t really sure what was going on.
  1.      She’s a time traveler.
  2.       She can fly.
  3.       She’s a teenage police officer in a future where adults aren’t trusted.
  4.       Some group of scientists is trying to improve their future, but end up destroying it.
  5.       Some other group wants to end Rocket Girl and get what they want.
That’s basically what I found. The artwork was rigid and colorful, fitting for the tough, superhero saving the world mood. Fighting for a future that she didn’t want, that was basically what happened in my mind. Although, I read this, it was fun and fast paced but I didn’t get it. What was she running from, what happened, did I say what happened earlier? It was as if she flew over my head as I read this. I wasn’t quite sure what happened that made her want to change everything, other than a questionably tragic New York that occurred in the future. Was it a sense of nostalgia? Did she wish for the future not to change because she preferred the old days? What was all the quantum mechanics people talking about? I don’t know maybe I read it too fast? Maybe if I read the next issue or wait for the next volume, everything would come back together.
                                                                       Rating: 3/5 

99 Problems by Ben Tanzer

8886126

Pages: 42
Genre: Non-fiction, Essays, Memoir, 
Format: E-book

For some odd reason, I had been eyeing this for awhile. I’m fond of Tanzer’s short story collections, but I don’t read non-fiction, rarely, even memoirs. I decided to pick it up anyway, as soon as Murakami was mentioned, I had to read it. Despite being a fan of Murakami, I had never read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Not because I didn’t want to, I just never had the chance to buy it or ask for it. I had only read 6 of his novels, so I guess that would be something I would enjoy right? I had only read the two CCLaP short story collections from Tanzer, and I hope to read more of his work. So of course, I picked up the essays. Here were the issues though, I’m not athletic at all, I have no interest in running, maybe walking, but running is out of my league. I clap for the ones who can exercise or do anything active without having heart palpitations and regretting it.


I read this collection without high expectations or any sort of standards. I was just reading Tanzer’s thoughts every time he ran. I don’t want to put a rating on this or even make a whole detailed review about it, despite that I did on Goodreads already. Reviewing a person’s thoughts is like standing up on stage and telling someone your slam poem about your hardships sucks. Did that even make sense? I rated it by my enjoyment. It didn’t blow my mind or make me cry; instead I was intrigued by his passion of the running and the need to write. Every writer has their own ritual for their word bleeding; Tanzer’s ritual is having his feet hug the cement.