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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 🙂 ]

Follow Me on Twitter.

 
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

 

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

After yesterday’s Post, we have finalized Friday’s genre of picks. Or Have we? No. Friday will be kept open-ended. To fit those books and movies that cannot be pigeon-holed, those that break from tradition and refuses to be classified. So if you love different books and movies, keep an eye out for the #FridayPicks!

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

 

Today’s MAD Recommendation

MOVIE: 3:10 TO YUMA

IMDb link: 3:10 to Yuma (2007) – IMDb

IMDb General Rating: 7.9/10

My IMDb Rating: 9/10

Genre: Western, Action

Plot:

The film’s premise is simple, but effective: After notorious Arizona outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is captured, it’s up to a handful of locals, including down on his luck rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) and bounty hunter Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda), to bring him to justice. Their mission is to transport Wade to the town of Contention where he will be put on the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. While this journey entails a trip through dangerous Apache territory, the greatest threat to the posse comes from the prisoner himself and his murderous henchmen.

Wade’s gang, run by the fanatically loyal Charlie Prince in his absence, is determined to liberate their leader. In the end, the only man willing to see the job through is Dan, who must also win the respect of his surly teenage son Will. The closer Dan gets to bringing Ben to justice, the more the two men come to find common ground and mutual respect…


Reviews:


“The rare remake that is as good if not better than the original film, director James Mangold’s version of 3:10 to Yuma is a thrilling, character-driven movie that ranks as one of the very best films of the year.”  — ign.com

3:10 to Yuma had me at hello when it pitted Christian Bale against Russell Crowe, two of the most intense actors in Hollywood. The plot is as exciting as it is complex, bringing a new level to the typical western by clouding the moral centers of the protagonists.” — Alexandra Calamari


Why You should Watch it:

  1. Russell Crowe + Christian Bale. I will not elaborate.
  2. It’s a kick-ass action film, as well as a vastly entertaining movie that proves that popcorn flicks don’t have to be dumb, shallow or contemporary to be enjoyed.
  3. Those of you who saw my previous pick, Get Shorty, must be eager for more of curt, tense thrilling movies. Here is another from the same author Elmore Leonard.

Why I loved it:

  1. I am a fan of dark brooding westerns with silent brooding emotionally intense spartan characters.
  2. I am not a fan of the post-Clint Eastwood and the post-Sergio Leone days.
  3. It introduced me to Christian Bale.
  4. I badly wanted some good entertainment after watching The Seventh Seal which had fried my brains, and 3:10 To Yuma provide cartloads.

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Today’s BAD Recommendation

BOOK: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

GoodReads link: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

GoodReads General Rating: 3.74/5

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

Genre: Psychological Realism, Mystery, Novel

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Plot:

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. He thinks of his memory as a movie; he thinks of the human brain as a computer.

Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing. Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher’s mind.


And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon’s choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the freshest debuts in years: a comedy, a heartbreaker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read.

[From the Back cover of the book]

Though Christopher insists, “This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them,” the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice.


Reviews:


“I have never read anything quite like Mark Haddon’s funny and agonizingly honest book, or encountered a narrator more vivid and memorable. I advise you to buy two copies; you won?t want to lend yours out.”
— Arthur Golden, author of MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA


“It would be curious indeed if this little gem of a novel didn’t find its way onto the best-seller lists.”– The Fort Myers News Press


“To get an idea of what Mark Haddon’s moving new novel, ”The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” is like, think of ”The Sound and the Fury” crossed with ”The Catcher in the Rye” and one of Oliver Sacks’s real-life stories.” — The New York Times


“Christopher Boone is an unsolved mystery — but he is certainly one of the strangest and most convincing characters in recent fiction.” — The New York Times


Why You should Read it:

  1. The protagonist is a kid, but this is as grown up a book as anything Cormac McCarthy writes.
  2. Those of you who have seen movies like MY Name Is Khan, should take this opportunity to find out what real autism is.
  3. Mystification through demystification.
  4. You will love Christopher’s musings on life and the fresh perspective it brings.
  5. Most importantly, the novel is amazingly tender without being cute and still remains funny even if sadly so.
  6. Also, this is a much smaller book than my previous recommendations and an easy fast read. Shouldn’t take you mare than two days. (I got complaints that all my picks are too lengthy!)

Why I loved it:

  1. It draws on elements from Sherlock Holmes, and I am a sucker for anything Holmes. Period.
  2. The whole concept of how a novel that is at heart a family story about a broken home is converted and presented as a detective story.
  3. As I said the heart of the novel is a heart breaking story of an autistic boy coping with his parents divorce. but it is hidden from us as it is hidden from him because he is not capable of emotions. But the agony of the father and the grief pervading the house manages to percolate through his uncomprehending consciousness and into ours, And when it does, it feels so bitter-sweet and unbearable and we join the father in his pain of seeing his son stumbling through the world trying to solve a mystery about a dog that was killed…


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.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 19, 2011 in Books, Movie Discussions, Movies

 

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

After yesterday’s Post, one thing must be clear and that is that Monday’s genre of picks is decided. Crime movies for The MAD & Speculative Fiction (ok, Science Fiction) for The BAD. All picks will be updated at the dedicated page. Let us go ahead with today’s picks, shall we?

Today’s MAD Recommendation

MOVIE: BIG FISH

IMDb link: Big FIsh (2003) – IMDb

IMDb General Rating: 8.1/10

My IMDb Rating: 10/10

Genre: Fantasy, Comedy

Big Fish: A Movie as Big as Life Itself!

Plot:

Big Fish tells the story of Edward Bloom (Albert Finney). Edward is the epitome of the charismatic southern gentleman. He is charming, friendly, and the best teller of tall tales on the planet. In fact, it is through these tall tales that the story of Edward’s life unfolds. As he lies in bed, dying of cancer, he takes his son, and us, on a journey through the many experiences in his life. Whether they are real or imagined is up to you to decide.

Edward’s son William (Billy Crudup) grew up loving his father’s stories, but has grown to feel like Edward has never really given him the truth. The fanciful tales have become nothing more than lies, and as Edward nears the end of his life, William just wants to know his father for who he is and without all of the whimsical underpinnings. And as he sets off to discover his father’s true story, what will he find out…


Reviews:


Big Fish turns into a wide-eyed Southern Gothic picaresque in which each lunatic twist of a development is more enchanting than the last,”  — Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly

“It’s like Forrest Gump without the bogus theme-park politics.”

Big Fish is a clever, smart fantasy that targets the child inside every adult,” Berardinelli said, “without insulting the intelligence of either.” — James Berardinelli

“As you’ve seen as you scrolled down to read this review, I have given Tim Burton’s new film the highest rating of any film I have reviewed on this site to date. And, there’s only one reason for that…

…I’m in love.

I am absolutely in love with Tim Burton’s Big Fish. I love the restrained, but vintage “Tim Burton look” of the film. I love the way Steve Buscemi just seems to own any part he plays. I love Albert Finney. And to top it all off, I love, love, love Ewan McGregor in this film. He emits charisma like no other young actor working today, and by the time it’s over you’ll feel like you want to know him forever. He becomes the kind of character you want to have over for dinner and just listen to for hours and hours.” — Richard Dennis


Why You should Watch it:

  1. It is funny, it is touching, it is absurd, it is serious,  it is philosophical, it explores the question of “absolute truth” – It delivers on enough levels for you to enjoy no matter what mood you are in.
  2. Big Fish is the kind of film that will mean different things to different people, but will be appreciated by almost all.
  3. “Big Fish” is a big movie. It will keep you talking and thinking about it long after you leave the theater!

Why I loved it:

  1. For the sheer comic genius of it.
  2. For the beautiful Big Fish soundtrack that converted me into an eternal fan of Buddy Holly.
  3. For being one of the few movies that keeps its promise of being awesome right till the very last scene.
  4. For showing me Ewan McGregor can act and is not just a light saber wielding dummy.
  5. IF I could give more than 10 on 10, this is one of the movies that would get it. LOVED IT!

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Today’s BAD Recommendation

BOOK: CLOUD ATLAS by DAVID MITCHELL

GoodReads link: Cloud Atlas

GoodReads General Rating: 4.20/5

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

Genre: Multi-genre, Novel

 

Cloud Atlas – Another “Big” pick for you!

Plot:

Cloud Atlas is made up of half-a-dozen disparate but artfully interwoven narratives that propel the reader forwards through time and genre, from the distant nineteenth to the not-so-far-off twenty-second century, from giddy picaresque to cool thriller to chilling sci-fi.

Cloud Atlas tells six different narratives, told in parts and out of order at times, constructing a novel with their intersections and coincidences. Each story is at first partially told. It begins with an American notary’s journals during a South Seas voyage, This follows with a story in 1931 of an English cad working as an amanuensis for a blind, syphilitic composer. It jumps to reporter in the 1970s investigating a cover up at a nuclear reactor, then a futuristic fast food robot struggling to achieve sentience, and finally a Hawaiian ruminating on a post-apocalyptic life. Then the unfinished stories are completed in backwards order. David Mitchell’s novel explores the intersection of history and humanity as they echo through time.

David Mitchell’s new novel, “Cloud Atlas,” is a remarkable achievement, a frightening, beautiful, funny, wildly inventive, elaborately conceived tour de force. It places us not in one intensely imagined world but six: six different time periods, milieus, vocabularies and literary styles. Each of these tales more than earns its keep. Collectively, they constitute a work of art. There’s a motorcycle stuntman quality to Mitchell.


Reviews:


“It is a devious writer indeed who writes in such a way that the critic who finds himself unresponsive to the writer’s vision feels like a philistine. So let it be said that Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novel’s every page.”  — New York Times


“To write a novel that resembles no other is a task that few writers ever feel prepared to essay. David Mitchell has written such a novel — or almost has. It its need to render every kind of human experience, ”Cloud Atlas” finds itself staring into the reflective waters of Joyce’s ”Ulysses.””– Tom Bissel


“David Mitchell’s new novel, “Cloud Atlas,” is a remarkable achievement, a frightening, beautiful, funny, wildly inventive, elaborately conceived tour de force. It places us not in one intensely imagined world but six: six different time periods, milieus, vocabularies and literary styles. Each of these tales more than earns its keep. Collectively, they constitute a work of art. There’s a motorcycle stuntman quality to Mitchell.” — SFGate.com

Was shortlisted for Booker Prize, Hugo and Nebula Awards


Why You should Read it:

  1. The six stories. Each of them are worthy of standing by themselves and are written in different style, theme, encompasses a different genre and is an experiment in literature. But they are brilliant little gems nevertheless.
  2. Reading Cloud Atlas is like doing a jigsaw puzzle: bits and pieces, fragments, clues coming together to create a surprising whole when completed. The trick is to scrutinize each puzzle piece and yet not lose track of the big picture.

Why I loved it:

  1. The intriguing Matryoshka doll structure of the book and the fact that it tells an honest straight story and doesn’t get lost in being too clever
  2. The hidden homages to Melville, Huxley etc that made me feel very clever and literary whenever I detected them.
  3. Robert Frobisher reminded me too much of myself, not sure if that is good or bad…
  4. One good story in a novel is very difficult to achieve… Six really good stories? That is something.
  5. I just love clever stuff like this. Forgive me.

Should you read Cloud Atlas? If you appreciate literary fiction, then this is a novel you should read at least once. Maybe more. It will challenge you, intimidate you, frustrate you, and dare you to think about the important questions it raises. It may not, however, grab you and pull you along with its storylines. That doesn’t necessarily detract from its importance or its brilliance. David Mitchell may be more intelligent than the rest of us, and he has some interesting and important ideas he wants to explore with his readers. Read Cloud Atlas.


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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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Books, Movie Discussions, Movies

 

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The Mad & The Bad: Your Daily Dose of Entertainment

The MAD Project

The Movie-A-Day Project

 

Enjoy with MAD

 

A New Movie Recommendation will be updated here every day. Every day will be allotted a genre after the first week of MAD is completed.

The archives will be updated in the MAD page accessible from the “Movies ” menu above.

The recommendation will be followed by a small overview, a micro review from me on why I think you should watch it and excerpts from reviews in popular review sites.

Today’s MAD Recommendation

MOVIE: GET SHORTY

IMDb link: Get Shorty (1995) – IMDb

IMDb General Rating: 6.9/10

My IMDb Rating: 7/10

Genre: Crime, Comedy

Plot:

Chili Palmer is a loan shark working out of Miami, but he really doesn’t like it. He hates having to work with scum, especially Ray “Bones” Barboni, a local wiseguy who has been feuding with Chili for 12 years over a leather coat. Truth be told, Chili would much rather be making movies.

So when a dry-cleaner named Leo who owes Chili a few thousand dollars fakes his own death, rips-off his insurance company and heads for L.A., Chili sees a golden opportunity.
Partnering with Harry Zimm, a small-time producer most famous for his “Slime Creatures” series, and Karen Allen, a former scream-queen who desperately wants to produce, Chili plans to make a major motion picture starring two-time Academy Award-winner Michael Weir.

But there’s a few little problems with getting “Mr. Lovejoy” into production: Ray Bones has come to town, looking for Chili and the few grand that Leo owes him. Harry Zimm owes money to a group of drug-dealers led by Bo Cattlett, a criminal who is as ruthless as he is stupid. A gang of Colombian smugglers are sniffing around looking for their money, which is currently in an airport locker under D.E.A. surveillance, and, perhaps worst of all, Michael Weir is more interested in making a movie about Chili Palmer than he is in a Harry Zimm picture…

 

Reviews:


“Practically perfect in its unpretentious way, MGM’s Get Shorty is the kind of smart, witty, polished entertainment that restores one’s faith in the studio system.” — Film.com

“Hailed by many critics as one of the best films of 1995, this finely tuned black comedy sparked a renewed interest in movies based on books by prolific crime novelist Elmore Leonard, whose trademark combination of tight plotting and sharp humor is perfectly captured here.” — rottentomatoes


Why You should Watch it:

  1. First of all, look at the cast – John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito.
  2. Then of course Elmore Leonard, need I say more?

Why I loved it:

  1. For it’s intriguing and sarcastic take on how movies are made.
  2. For the Awesome Climax!
  3. For the comic timing of Travolta
  4. Mostly because I loved the book!
Warning: If you prefer books to movies, you should try the book first!

_______________________________________________________________________

The BAD Project

The Book-A-Day Project

 

A New Book Recommendation will be updated here every day. A short overview, a personal explanation and excerpts from popular reviews of the book will be included.

 

Which one to Pick???

Today’s BAD Recommendation

BOOK: STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

GoodReads link: Stranger in a Strange Land

GoodReads General Rating: 3.75/15

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

Genre: Science Fiction, Novel


Stranger in a Strange Land

 

Plot:

Stranger in a Strange Land is the epic saga of an earthling, Valentine Michael Smith, born and educated on Mars, who arrives on our planet with psi powers – telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, teleportation, pyrolysis, and the ability to take control of the minds of others – and complete innocence regarding the mores of man.

After his tutelage under a surrogate-father figure, Valentine begins his transformation into a messiah figure. His introduction into Earth society, together with his exceptional abilities, lead Valentine to become many things to many people: freak, scam artist, media commodity, searcher, free-love pioneer, neon evangelist, and martyr.

Heinlein won his third Hugo award for this novel, sometimes called Heinlein’s earthly “divine comedy.

 

Reviews:


“The first half of this novel is so amazing to me… The story of Valentine Michael Smith’s re-introduction to Earth life is such a great view of humans from the outside, that I can see why this book affected a generation. It poetically shows us our strengths, and our flaws. …oh that first half…”  — Deven Science

“A brilliant mind-bender.”–Kurt Vonnegut.


Why You should Watch it:

  1. Have you ever heard the word “Grok” and wondered what it is? Like many influential works of literature, Stranger made a contribution to the English language: specifically, the word “grok
  2. The Characters – Jubal and Smith are probably the two most powerful characters you will come across in science fiction literature.
  3. To understand Iron Maiden
  4. I think you get it – The book is too influential to not be read!

Why I loved it:

  1. “Although the narrative of Stranger in a Strange Land operates on many different levels, one obvious interpretation of Mike’s story would be as a postmodern retelling of the Jesus story. Before the novel even begins, we see that the title of Part One is “His Maculate Conception,” a satirical reference to the mythology of Christ’s immaculate conception.”
  2. The philosophy of it. it captivated me. How Heinlein managed to show us humanity seen from a stranger’s eyes…
  3. Also, I couldn’t stop using “I Grok You” to everybody for days 🙂
  4. The Book’s take on sexuality… Hmm, I don’t think I will elaborate on that now.

 

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

 
11 Comments

Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Book Reviews, Books, Movie Discussions, Movie Reviews, Movies

 

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