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The MAD & The BAD: Today’s Dose of Entertainment

In the previous Post, Sunday’s genre has been decided – War Movies and Thriller/Murder books. Monday unfortunately turned out to be an off day and will be decided next week.

All picks will be updated at the dedicated page. Let us go ahead with today’s picks, shall we?

 

Today’s MAD Recommendation

MOVIE: THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED

IMDb link: The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005) – IMDb

IMDb General Rating: 7.3/10

My IMDb Rating: 8/10

Genre: Sport, History, Drama

The Greatest Game Ever Played

Plot:

Disney continues their string of sports films with The Greatest Game Ever Played directed by Bill Paxton. It tells the tale of Francis Ouimet, an amateur golfer in the early 1900’s. As a child he showed a love for the sport and even worked as a caddy at the local golf course. As an adult, despite his natural talent, he found himself held back by prejudice against the working class and his father who didn’t want him wasting his time with the game. Yet through luck and the help of a local golfing club member, Francis found himself given the opportunity to play as an amateur in the 1913 U.S. Open.

Up until that point the world of golf had been dominated by the British and Scots. Leading the British was Harry Vardon, aka The Stylist. Vardon had risen from lowly roots to become the best golfer in the world. Despite this, he found himself consistently excluded and looked down upon by “gentlemen” golfers. The 1913 U.S. Open was his chance to win acceptance into their exclusive society and overcome his self doubts about his class.

It was against this backdrop that Vardon and Ouimet, along with his pint-sized caddy Eddie Lowery, found themselves facing off in the greatest game of golf ever played…


Reviews:


“It’s by far the most inspirational sports movie to come along in many a month.”  — Seattle Post


“The technique is at the service of a game in which everything is at risk, and we like both players; our affection for them makes everything trickier, and certainly as the final rounds are played, the games themselves seem to have been scripted to create as much suspense as possible. I have no idea if the movie is based, stroke for stroke, on the actual competition at the 1913 U.S. Open. I guess I could find out, but I don’t want to know. I like it this way.” — Roger Ebert

 

“But that is beside the point. Like the best fairy tales, The Greatest Game Ever Played works precisely because it is so simply told, so devoid of irony and cynicism. In this I compare it with the Harry Potter or Pixar movies…”  — Ign.com


Why You should Watch it:

  1. If you are in the mood for a good underdog triumph story
  2. If you are thinking of developing a liking for Golf, what with being in the corporate field and all 🙂
  3. If you are not in a particularly demanding mood today…

Why I loved it:

  1. For the simple fact that it made the impossible possible. I never expected golf would ever interest me in any way ever. The movie had me tense and on the edge of my seat by the last swing.
  2. Brilliant cinematography and some wonderfully shot effects and scenes
  3. A historically correct story that I have to admit was inspiring.

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Today’s BAD Recommendation

BOOK: KAFKA ON THE SHORE by HARUKI MURAKAMI

GoodReads link: Kafka on the Shore

GoodReads General Rating: 4.04/5

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

Genre: Suspense, HumorMagical Realism, Novel

Kafka On the Shore

Plot:

Comprising two distinct but interrelated plots, the narrative runs back and forth between the two, taking up each plotline in alternating chapters.

The odd chapters tell the 15-year-old Kafka’s story as he runs away from his father’s house to escape an Oedipal curse and to embark upon a quest to find his mother and sister. After a series of adventures, he finds shelter in a quiet, private library in Takamatsu, run by the distant and aloof Miss Saeki and the intelligent and more welcoming Oshima. There he spends his days reading the unabridged translation of A Thousand and One Nights and the collected works of Natsume Sōseki until the police begin inquiring after him in connection with a brutal murder.

The even chapters tell Nakata’s story. Due to his uncanny abilities, he has found part-time work in his old age as a finder of lost cats (a clear reference to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle). The case of one particular lost cat puts him on a path that ultimately takes him far away from his home, ending up on the road for the first time in his life. He befriends a truck-driver named Hoshino. Hoshino takes him on as a passenger in his truck and soon becomes very attached to the old man.

Nakata and Kafka are on a collision course throughout the novel, but their convergence takes place as much on a metaphysical plane as it does in reality and, in fact, that can be said of the novel itself. Due to the Oedipal theme running through much of the novel, Kafka on the Shore has been called a modern Greek tragedy.


Reviews:


“A real page-turner, as well as an insistently metaphysical mind-bender”  — John Updike


“I’ve never read a novel that I found so compelling because of its narrative inventiveness and love of storytelling…great entertainment”– Guardian review

 

Murakami is like a magician who explains what he’s doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers. So great is the force of the author’s imagination, and of his conviction in the archaic power of the story he is telling, that all this junk is made genuine.” — New York Times

 

“Murakami’s prose style is addictive, and the depth and scope of his work is astounding. Not since Steinbeck has any writer managed to lift so much of the human psyche and deposit it in one novel. Readers will come away from this book shattered, but reawakened to the limitless possibilities in themselves and in the cold world in which we live.” — Post Gazette


Why You should Read it:

  1. If you are a classical music lover, you will enjoy the role of music in driving the narrative.
  2. If you are not a classical music lover, the book will probably make you one – just take the trouble to search in YouTube for the Beethoven and Schubert music alluded to and you will find yourself loving them.
  3. The quirky characters, the half fantasy-half reality, half japanese-half western settings everything will give you an atmosphere rarely found in books.
  4. While Murakami was writing this, he was also working on a Japanese Translation of Catcher in the Rye. And you can see bits of Holden Caulfield in Kafka, So if you loved Catcher in the Rye…

Why I loved it:

  1. For the simple fact that Murakami did not disappoint after The Wind-Up bird Chronicle. Every author peaks with some work and I honestly thought it had to be Wind-Up Bird, I couldn’t see him topping that. Well, he equalled it at least.
  2. The open-ended riddles gives the reader the feeling of solving some internal puzzle as the story unfolds, I loved that feeling of being allowed to write my own meaning into the larger than life events being played out.
  3. It introduced me to the haunting melody of Beethoven – The Archduke Trio. I never grow tired of listening to that.
  4. “In some way the spirit of the book is a throwback to that music, as it invites the reader to relax and dream and drift along with the flow of time. Water is everywhere: Mr. Murakami often invokes imagery of streams and spring rain, of a river that follows an unexpected path. ”Kafka on the Shore” artfully sets such currents in motion.”


That is it for today folks! See you tomorrow! Hope you enjoy the picks!


PS. For readers from inside campus, a small bonus package is provided! The movie and the book can be lent from me personally from my username at DC++, please understand that I am only lending you the copy and you are advised to delete the copy of the movie/book after usage. The details will be updated along with the posts.

Disclaimer: This blog does not support the propagation of pirated material in any way and the books and movies are to be lent on a personal basis only. [ Just in case 🙂 ]

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38 Comments

Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Books, Movie Discussions, Movies

 

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The MAD & The BAD: Today’s Dose of Entertainment

The previous post thus confirms saturday’s genre of picks, Action for movies and Detective/psychological for books. All picks will be updated at the dedicated page. Let us go ahead with today’s picks, shall we?

 

Today’s MAD Recommendation

MOVIE: THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS

IMDb link: The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009) – IMDb

IMDb General Rating: 6.4/10

My IMDb Rating: 8/10

Genre: War, Comedy

Men Who Stare At Goats

Plot:

A reporter, trying to lose himself in the romance of war after his marriage fails, gets more than he bargains for when he meets a special forces agent who reveals the existence of a secret, psychic military unit whose goal is to end war as we know it. The founder of the unit has gone missing and the trail leads to another psychic soldier who has distorted the mission to serve his own ends.

“In this quirky dark comedy inspired by a real life story you will hardly believe is actually true, astonishing revelations about a top-secret wing of the U.S. military come to light when a reporter encounters an enigmatic Special Forces operator on a mind-boggling mission.

Reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is in search of his next big story when he encounters Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a shadowy figure who claims to be part of an experimental U.S. military unit. According to Cassady, the New Earth Army is changing the way wars are fought. A legion of “Warrior Monks” with unparalleled psychic powers can read the enemy’s thoughts, pass through solid walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it. Now, the program’s founder, Bill Django (Oscar® nominee Jeff Bridges), has gone missing and Cassady’s mission is to find him.

Intrigued by his new acquaintance’s far-fetched stories, Bob impulsively decides to accompany him on the search. When the pair tracks Django to a clandestine training camp run by renegade psychic Larry Hooper (two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey), the reporter is trapped in the middle of a grudge match between the forces of Django’s New Earth Army and Hooper’s personal militia of super soldiers. In order to survive this wild adventure, Bob will have to outwit an enemy he never thought possible.”


“More of this is true than you would believe”


Reviews:


“A serendipitous marriage of talent in which all hearts seem to beat as one… fashions a superbly written loony-tunes satire, played by a tony cast at the top of its game.”  — variety.com


“This is the anti-Hurt Locker experience: Where that Iraq War film was absorbing and deadly serious, The Men Who Stare at Goats is irreverent and lighthearted.” — Usatoday.com


“More of this is true than you would believe”


Why You should Watch it:

  1. If you like the brand of absurdist, farcical on your face comedy, you should lap it up.
  2. If you want 2 hours of light-hearted fun and not worry about what a movies message is, then too this movie is for you.
  3. If you are a Clooney fan, this movie will not disappoint you.
  4. If you are the sort who likes a movie to have three layers of meaning, then this is up your alley.
  5. “More of this is true than you would believe”

Why I loved it:

  1. For the ensemble cast who all delivered to expectations. – George ClooneyEwan McGregorJeff BridgesKevin Spacey – I was in fandom heaven.
  2. The Star Wars references between Clooney and Skywalker!
  3. One of the few movies which is better than the book.
  4. “More of this is true than you would believe”

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Today’s BAD Recommendation

BOOK: PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER by PATRICK SÜSKIND

GoodReads link: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

GoodReads General Rating: 3.83/5

My GoodReads Rating: 4/5

Genre: Thriller, Novel

Plot:

In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift — an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and frest-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume” — the scent of a beautiful young virgin. He turns into a serial killer on his quest for the Ultimate Perfume which can bestow on him God like Powers – one of manipulating emotions of people towards him and of being irresistibly loved by everyone he wished.

Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.


Reviews:


Perfume is a historical tale that delves into the macabre, but it also has the rare quality of being able to change the way you experience life, albeit through an olfactory perspective. Perfume does more than let you get lost in the world of a book — it puts you in touch with one of the strongest senses we possess and magnifies that experience to the extreme.”  — PowellsBooks


“An astonishing performance, a masterwork of artistic conception and execution. A totally gripping page-turner.” — The San Francisco Chronicle


“In my opinion, it should be considered, digested then savoured, for it was not until I had completed the book that I was able to fully appreciate how truly amazing and spellbinding it really is. Overall, I found Perfume to be as captivating as it is disturbing, tender yet wicked, and on the whole, one of the most thought-provoking novels I have ever encountered.” — Laura Kilvington

“The audiobook, read by Sean Barrett, is the best audio performance I have ever heard; he snuffles and sniffles his way to greatness and you almost believe he is inhaling bliss, or the essence of a stone. I once almost destroyed a dinner party by putting it on for “five minutes,” after which nobody wanted to stop listening.” — Roger Ebert


Why You should Read it:

  1. You will be torn by this book. You will find yourself actually liking and sympathising with the monstrous odd murderer.
  2. You will be lead to believe that all those exotic smells actually exist in the world and will change how you see ordinary things at least for a day or two
  3. The movie is also an amazing feat of art. ANd you should not watch the amazing movie without reading this stunning book. You will enjoy the movie tenfold after reading it.
  4. It is erotic beyond belief. And is also a new brand of erotic – one based on smell and not on sight.

Why I loved it:

  1. The class of the writer, Suskind is peerless in sheer story telling ability and mastery. Every sentence was captivating, intense and filled with life. Every emotion going on in the unfathomable head of the protagonist who thinks with different senses is somehow conveyed to us.
  2. For how it made me keep questioning the morality of Grenouille’s actions. I kept on moving between approving of his murders by understanding the reason and thinking about how he is absolved because from his perspective he really is doing nothing wrong and the conventional morality of being outraged at murder.
  3. It took me back to the place I was in after watching Memento. Morally there was just no reconciling the character as good or bad. It is frustrating and exhilarating. After all, the fundamental theme of any book I would like to write would again be the absence of morality and how it is just a construct of circumstances and perspective… but I digress.
  4. It reminded me very very strongly of The Picture of Dorian Grey which I am a big fan of. To top, it is so very Dickensian in its approach to story telling.


That is it for today folks! See you tomorrow! Hope you enjoy the picks!


PS. For readers from inside campus, a small bonus package is provided! The movie and the book can be lent from me personally from my username at DC++, please understand that I am only lending you the copy and you are advised to delete the copy of the movie/book after usage. The details will be updated along with the posts.

Disclaimer: This blog does not support the propagation of pirated material in any way and the books and movies are to be lent on a personal basis only. [ Just in case 🙂 ]

Follow Me on Twitter.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Book Reviews, Books, Movie Discussions, Movie Reviews, Movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
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