Category Archives: Lists of Books/Movies

Movie Review: A Quiet Place

I’d been looking forward to seeing John Krasinski in his horror film debut ever since I saw a trailer for it. What I didn’t expect was to see it in theaters, mainly because I figured I wouldn’t have the time.

But alas, my girlfriend, me, and some other friends ended up in the theater on a Friday night, not really sure what to expect. I mean, let’s be honest. The only reason I went to see the movie was Jim from the Office. If the movie was good, then that was a bonus.

The premise was interesting, at least, while maybe not the most flashy of ideas. Almost as soon as the movie began, however, I could tell this was very well done, and every second-long frame was meticulously crafted. There are few movies where it feels like every scene, every image, is purposefully set up and shown, but this was one of those few. Anyways, on to the grading!

Good

Jim (John Krasinski) and Emily Blunt

So, needless to say, these two are both very well-known and successful when it comes to acting. Emily Blunt has made a name for herself, starring in various big-name movies, and recently showed up in the psychological thriller Girl on the Train (but read the book, not the movie).  And John… is Jim. And I won’t stop calling him Jim, so deal with it. Also, they never gave him a name in the movie, that I can recall, so I choose to believe that his name was Jim.

Anyways, they both showed off just how good they are in this film, both when acting with other people and when by themselves. Seeing as they’re the only two adult main-characters, they had a lot of pressure on their shoulders. I mean, having kid actors that are talented was awesome, but if these two didn’t meet the bar we set for them, the movie was going to be thought of as a let-down, whereas any acting flaws by the younger ones could have been overshadowed by Emily Blunt and Jim.

Touching Characters

Not only could Emily Blunt and Jim act (and direct, in his case), but the two other main actors were fantastic as well, despite being younger and less experienced. I didn’t recognize either of them from previous films, but that didn’t stop them from being just as good as the adults.

Through this great acting and marvelous writing, A Quiet Place is full of characters you root for. Most of the time, in horror movies, I actually want the good guys to die, just because I’m sick of every movie having a happy ending. This one, though, I really, really wanted Jim and Co. to somehow make it out alive. Since it seems like the rest of the world has already been overtaken by the monsters, I wasn’t sure where exactly they could go, but still I held out hope. Much like the characters in the movie.

Unnerving Silence

The simple fact is: this movie was better in theaters than it could possibly have been at home. With their surround sound, blaring volume, and the large screen, it just felt like you were in that world. There were times in the movie where everything was so quiet, it was awkward to even take a drink, because it felt like everybody could hear everything you were doing. After two hours of sitting in the dark theater room, walking out to the main lobby where everybody could talk freely and make any noise they wanted was a shock. It felt… unnatural. And for the next few days, I wondered how much needless noise there is in our world.

I really enjoyed the music score for this film, and how it was placed thoughtfully to add tension, but not so much that it ruined the frightful atmosphere of quiet. There was just enough noise, and just enough silence, that it really made for a scary experience.

Bad

World description

The main thing I long for in a movie like this, where the entire earth is in a post-apocalyptic state, would be more information about the rest of the planet. Are there survivors holed up in a city somewhere, or multiple cities? When did these creatures first come about? If they really do attack noise, how did everybody not die within the first few days, before people figured out what the cause was?

We see hints of newspapers from all across the globe, detailing what they know about the creatures, with headlines such as “It’s Sound!” and “Stay Safe. Get Underground!” but never any real information. Are there people actually underground? Why didn’t Jim and his family follow them? There is a scene (see picture above) where it’s shown that there are other families in this countryside, maybe a dozen or so. Wouldn’t it be better for them to band together and try to do something?

This is one of the reasons why I liked Planet of the Apes so much. I didn’t expect this movie to show everything that happened, but I would have liked some more details. After all, their entire world changed in the span of 89 days. I wanted to see that progression a little more.

Ending

The ending is one that most people will like. It has that “female cocking a gun with a determined expression” moment (literally) where you think, “Dang, she’s gonna go kill all these stupid monsters.” It has the deaf girl making use of technology and figuring out that high-frequency waves can render these creatures crippled. So, yeah, it’s cool. But it’s disappointing. What I wanted was to either see them take out the creatures, and find a new, better life, or see them all die and understand that there was no way out of this situation.

Instead, we got the ambiguous ending (which I am a fan of, just not in this case.) For most of you, it might put a nice bow on the movie, but for me, it was like leaving out the last three chapters of a great book.

Overall

This movie had only a few bad things about it, and the World Building was really just me being picky. The ending, though… That keeps it from getting a better score. I loved the film, the concept, and appreciate the fact that *red alert* something interesting and unique was made in Hollywood, but then again, that’s what the horror genre is best at… Staying unique, while the rest of the world makes the 28th Avengers movie.

8.5/10

Movie Review: The Amityville Horror (2005)

Got my wisdom teeth taken out, couldn’t sleep, wanted to watch a horror movie.

You know how hard it is to find a decent horror movie?? Like, really really hard. I swear. All the good ones are about sex and the badness of it, pretty much. And then you have the typical ghost story that turns out really good. Then you have the franchises, like Conjuring and Insidious. And then you have the remakes. I went for remakes.

The Amityville Horror is a remake of a movie based on a book that’s hopefully not based on real life. Although basically every movie says they are. Heck, they probably say Star Wars is “based on real life events.”

Anyways, rant over. Listen up, ya’ll, because I’m typing fast today. (Oh yeah, and there’s a sequel coming out called Amityville: The Awakening or something. Looks pretty good, to be honest. But it’s got that chick from Shake It Up in it so…)

amityville horror cover

WHAT I LIKED:

  • House

Normally, I could care less about the scenery. The exception, maybe is The Shining. However, this movie had the perfect house for the story line. I knew what was going to happen, but I know that with most movies because, well, almost everything’s predictable in fiction, unlike life. So, having great actors and a great setting certainly help with that.

Honestly, it was like the picturesque haunted house. It made me want to go back and read the book, which I just might do. If the novel is anything like the movie, it should be a fantastic, fascinating read.

  • Actors

I touched on this in the last point, but the actors for this movie were phenomenal! Whoever did the casting for this should do it for every single movie ever. It was the perfect cast for the perfect roles for the perfect story line… Okay, that’s overstating it. But really, they were great!

The best part about movies is the actors. So when they fail, the movie does, too. Casting is a very fragile business, which I obviously know a lot about having never been near a movie set other than Disneyworld. But still, it’s tough. And this movie does it great just like Harrison Ford.

Every character looked how I would imagine them, talked like I thought they should, and died how- I mean, what… Nobody dies… Honestly, I can’t remember. It was past midnight when the Gremlins came out and ate my remembering-ness. (Did you know you can put – between any two words and the computer thinks it’s right? Try it in the comments! I think we have spellcheck there…)

  • Ending

I really liked the conclusion to this, to be honest. It left things open for a sequel or many sequels (which Hollywood will never fail to provide!). Not only that, but it wrapped up the story. As far as I know, those poor people are still alive and dealing with the affects of staying in Amityville. But, at least they’re alive. It’s more than the folks in Jaws can say.
amityville horror

WHAT I DISLIKED:

  • The Catholic Priest

He’s like… a major letdown. Maybe it was the director’s way of poking fun at exorcism movies? I don’t know. But he shows up, gets spooked, and then just leaves. It was bizarre! Poor old guy probably broke his hip, just trying to water the gardenias.

  • The Babysitter

So, her name is L… L… um Lisa I think. And she’s this really slutty babysitter, who’s like openly flirting with the son I guess? And he’s not even into puberty age. But he was refusing a babysitter, so the parents get him this girl who they think will keep him occupied, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Who does that?? The poor kid. He was probably more scarred from that experience than with the demon/ghost things. They locked her in a closet, and she got like eaten or something crazy. Well, I guess she won’t be flirting with 11 year old boys anymore. Especially now that she’s in her 50’s.

MY RATING: 8/10

For all the joking and goofing and giggling and joshing I’ve done during this post, I really did enjoy the movie. It was a fun way to spend a night. Although it was nothing special, I’ve seen much worse movies, and at least I wasn’t stuck with another Krampus! Geez. I had somebody tell me they liked that movie recently, and I was…

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Amityville

+

Krampus

is

Krampusville.

NOOOOOOOOOO

 

Book Review: Trail of Broken Wings

This is kind of cheating since I wrote this for a book report book, but all the same here goes:

Trail of Broken Wings
by Sejal Badani
report by David Kummer

For my book report book, I read Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani. The author is from India, as are the main characters, so there is a plethora of Indian influences on the book, from some of the words the characters to use to their meals and also the events they celebrate. The book is a Literary Fiction book, but there are elements of suspense and mystery as the author keeps you guessing as to some plot points.
In the book, Sonya is a photographer who ran away from home after college. Her mother, father, two sisters, and their husbands all live in the same town. Sonya plans never to return there because of her childhood, when her father abused her, one of her sisters, and their mother. However, her father falls into a comma and she finally relents to her mother’s wishes, returning home.
Once there, the neatly sorted lives of the four, related women start to unravel. In only a few weeks, each of their lives fall apart in it’s own way. Sonya sees one sister, Trisha, get divorced, the other, Marian, discover her daughter’s horrifying secret, and her mother, Ranee, deal with what she has done that nobody knows about.
Each of them has secrets, and only when all the secrets are revealed will they be able to build up a normal life.
Sonya deals with helping her two sisters and mother, all while dealing with her own personal struggles. From her love interest with a doctor at the hospital, she finds a new photography opportunity, working with cancer patients at the hospital and using photography as a means to help them heal, both emotionally and physically. She sees herself in the broken patients, and gradually spends more time with the doctor, David, until at last she tells him the family secret and waits to see whether he will leave.
Their mother makes the final say in the matter of their father, deciding whether he will live or die, whether they should pull the plug or give him more time. But when all of them are ready to turn off the machines, Marian’s daughter, Gia, wants to keep him alive. Marian is forced to tell Gia the truth about what happened when they were younger.
The main conflinct in the story, for each of the sisters and mother, is undoubedtly versus themselves. However, Gia faces a dilemma in which she is pitted against both herself and another person, her boyfriend. When they all thought the abuse was long over, Gia falls back into the lifestyle they all knew so well- the lifestyle of a punching bag.
This was a fantastic book in my opinion. The descriptions were vivid and made the whole story seem very realistic. As well, the few scenes that took place in India seemed familiar enough to understand but foreign enough to make it exciting. The author’s Indian heritage greatly affected how the book was wrote, but in the end it turned out wonderfully.
Although this is a very depressing book, the ending is better than one would expect. The characters were friendly and enjoyable to read about. Every time something happened, I found myself rooting for them, hoping they would turn out better in the end, so that when the final page came I was prepared to see if they would win and desperately hoping they would.
I would definitely read the book again, because there were enough layers to the story that I could not possibly get bored. It was fun to read once, and would be just as enjoyable if I did so a second time.
Reading the book, I gained a much wider understanding of abuse victims and how it affects them psychologically. There were so many new things I learned, they couldn’t all possibly be put into a report. The emotional trauma that followed them was evident. What I found interesting was that all four women dealed with the abuse in four completely unique ways. It was interesting.
The ending wasn’t predictable until the last chapter actually came, and even then I kept reading because I wanted to be sure it would happen. Like I said, I was hoping for the characters to win.
The characters were developed phenomanally, taking most of the story to fully flesh them out. Every chapter offered a new piece of their lives that I was eager and glad to lump with the other characteristics and traits I’d learned.
While the conflict is (hopefully) not one everybody can relate to, the sense of man vs. self was definitely something we have all gone through, so that part of it was relatable. Besides that, there was the drama within the family and, of course, the love story that all of us have experienced before.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a sad read or likes Literary Fiction novels, where there are, as Stephen King says, “extraordinary people in ordinary situations.” While this isn’t exactly an ordinary situation, there are indeed extraordinary people, and you would do well to pay a little money to spend time with you.

 

MY RATING: 8.5/10

New Movies Added

Check out my Movie Ratings page to see all the new movies I’ve added and the plethora of ratings I’ve given them. The new look has the title, the rating, and then a short sentence describing the movie. Also, about 3/5 of the movies have reviews, which you can see by clicking on them.

If you’re looking for a book to read, then the Book Reviews page  is where you wanna look. I’m sure you can find something scary!

Have a great October and get ready for Halloween!

Book Review: 1984

muhhamad ali young

First of all, R.I.P. Muhammad Ali

muhammad ali old

Now. I was looking for a book to read a couple weeks ago, by searching through my Amazon Wishlist. I stumbled across the book 1984 by George Orwell, and it was Kindle Unlimited so I decided to read it. And the whole Star Wars thing, and Utopian/Dystopian futures, and mosquitoes and everything made sense! I just had to read it!

Although now I forgot why it all made sense…

So bear with me, as we go to a Dystopian-or-Utopian-I-forget-which world. Cue the dark music (and don’t judge).

1984 pic

WHAT I LIKED:

  • Ingsoc

In 1984, the whole principle is about a futuristic world where there are only three “countries.” Eurasia, Eastasia, and Oceania. (These are pretty good names, by the way, although two of them are already places…)

Oceania, where the book is centered, seems to be the worst of these nations, although we never really find out. That’s one thing I’ll mention later.

  • The First Half

Honestly, this is the part most people hate on. They say it’s too much world-building; they say Orwell is “just preaching.” But I really like this part.

I read the book because I was too lazy to imagine a futuristic Dystopian/Utopian world for myself. If Orwell has to do some preaching and lots of explaining, that’s perfectly fine with me. He’s created a fascinating world and deserves the right to show off his intellectual skill, just like I do when I use the world “intellectual.”

  • Newspeak

To put it shortly, HE CREATED HIS OWN FREAKING LANGUAGE! AND IT MAKES SPEAK!

That’s all I have to say. Doublegood, chap. Doublegood.

WHAT I DISLIKED:

  • Eastasia/Eurasia

These two countries are the biggest missing puzzle in the futuristic world. We know nothing about them. Are they “good?” Why can’t they win even a battle against Oceania? Do they know all the injustice going on?

In some ways, it wasn’t that much different from World War II Germany, where the government was controlling, demanding, and cruel. However, in Oceania the government has crushed any resistance by changing them -they have made the enemies their allies.

All we know about the E-powers (my own naming hehe) is that they are evil, to the Oceania people anyways. I really was hoping for an Author’s Letter-type epilogue, where Orwell would explain some of the missing pieces. Yeah, I didn’t get that. Still a bit bitter.

  • Twist… of the Strange Kind

So about halfway through the book, something really odd happens. Yoda comes out and sits on the dude’s bed and says, “There’s been a change… Can you feel it?” (Star Wars quote anyone? Please say somebody understands me!!)

Well, that didn’t actually happen. As you know. Because that’d be really weird and you would’ve heard about it by now. Stupid internet-talking-with-people-thingy makes it hard for me to fool you. But something odd did happen.

The main character Winston gets this book, and it’s basically the philosophy of the rebels, who are anti-Ingsoc (the philosophy of Oceania’s government.) They’re pretty much like we are today, in terms of believing stuff about politics, war, all that drama. Well, Winston gets the book and reads it. And everything’s set up for a big showdown with the government, and secret missions, and throwing acid in kid’s faces (it says that in the book!!)… but then it doesn’t happen.

There’s a twist, I can’t say what happens because it’s a spoiler, and basically the book’s over. There’s just some talking, some thinking, and a little mental fighting. And then the book’s over.

This last couple chapters are really foggy, compared to the crystal-clear earlier half. The book just progressively gets less clear as it goes on.

MY RATING: 8

This book was unique, took place in an amazing setting, and is not an easy work for anybody to match. Because of this, I’m giving 1984 an 8. (I was tempted to do 8.4, but I’ve had enough jokes today. It’s time to weep.)

big brother 1984

QUOTE TIME: “It was a political act.”

This is one of the best chapter-endings I’ve ever read. It’s perfectly timed in the book, and just wraps up the whole ideology of the main character. If you read the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Pick up your copy here.

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R.I.P. Muhammad Ali.

Book Review: The Venus Trap

I recently read the book The Venus Trap by Louise Voss. It was a thrilling read, full of mysteries and emotional twists. The ending, especially, is one finale that I won’t forget. If you’re interested (YOU ARE), then get a copy here!

And now onward….

the venus trap

WHAT I LIKED:

  • The Twist

The ending is INSANE!! I really should have seen it coming, but I just didn’t I guess. I was too caught up in anxiety as to how the story would end. While the rest of the book wasn’t very captivating (see below), the ending was fantastic and really got me.

Besides this, there were a plethora of twists throughout the book. The main character was so full of pain and regret, and we really felt as if life gave her every thing she could handle, and did its best to kill her.

  • Easy to Read

This book and author (Louise Voss) are very easy to read and understand. There’s no unnecessarily big words, and everything is like you would say it in real life. It reminded me a lot of Mark Edwards, who also writes in first person point-of-view a lot.

It’s no surprise the two have worked together on books in the past. Both are phenomenal writers and have created amazing, simple plots that really power their stories. Louise Voss is truly a great author of this time period.

  • Main Character

The main character who I’ve mentioned before -Jo Atkins- is a very intriguing person. On the outside, she seems simple. Divorced, coming out of a broken relationship, trying online dating, victim of assault as a teenager, and a plethora of terrible events. Seems simple, like a lot of us have gone through these things. But then her insane date goes and kidnaps her inside her own apartment and keeps her trapped, threatening to kill her.

We see the past and present of Jo throughout the book, as she shows us glimpses of her former self through diaries, memories, and conversations. The present Jo is shown through her talks with the kidnapper and with memories of the recent few weeks and years.

She really is a complex person and makes the book tons better.

  • Up and Downs of Story

This novel, perhaps more than any other I’ve read, has lots of ups and downs. There are happy moments, sad moments, glad memories, depressing memories, and ultimately a fitting, fantastic ending. We grow alongside Jo as she goes through terrible ordeals, and even if we don’t connect we can certainly relate.

WHAT I DISLIKED:

  • Title?

So the title is The Venus Trap and I’m not sure how that connects at all with the story? Because she’s… trapped? I guess. That’s the only real connection I see. Anyways. Move on.

  • Not Capturing/Engaging

For some reason, this book didn’t grab my attention as much as other books I’ve read lately. This book was great, yes, but it just didn’t get as invested emotionally. Maybe it was because the concept (a girl trapped inside her house by a crazy man) wasn’t very broad and I didn’t connect as much.

Besides that, it was just that the book didn’t encompass as many ideas and people as some other books. The main character had lots of regret, and the other dude was a psychopath. It was an interested mesh, but for an entire book didn’t hold all that much interest. At least the author’s a great writer.

MY RATING: 8.5/10

This book was fulfilling, fantastic, and fitting for an author of Voss’s renown. It really was a great read, and the plot keeps you on the edge of your eSeat. I highly recommend picking up a copy here and reading it.

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Did ya watch the Derby? Pretty fantastic, that’s what I say. Nyquist kinda sounds like Nyquil. Endorsement maybe? You betcha.

NEW STORY: Beautiful Tears

An emotional, powerful story about love, forgiveness, and mercy…
Two women, shattered, that are nearing death in their own ways…
A fight for survival in a world that hates them…

Here’s my newest short story, called Beautiful Tears! (Available for free here!)

beautiful tears cover

Here’s a sample:

“Please get down. Let’s go have some tea or… or just please get down.”

My plea was carried away by the wind on top of the bridge. Even at nighttime when there was no sign of light, the wind remained.

“I can’t,” she shouted back. Her voice slashed through the wind, straight to my ears and my heart. “I have to do this! Don’t you understand?”

“Make me understand!” I put every ounce of emotion left into the words, until they were merely shrieks that I hoped she heard. “Come down and let’s talk!”

“I… I need to do-”

“We have all night. You can do… I mean you have hours upon hours left! It’s not even midnight yet. Please, let’s just talk.”

The disheveled teenage girl turned to face me as she stood precariously close to the edge of the bridge. One wrong movement and her feeble body would fall. Tear stains had replaced the makeup on her face, and her skin seemed taut and pale.

“Why should I listen to you?” Her words were fierce, and her voice accusing. “You’re just a homeless old witch!”

I nodded slowly, afraid of saying the wrong word or using the wrong tone. “Maybe, maybe not. But even a homeless old witch has ears for you to talk to, unburden yourself to.”

“Unburden?” She laughed, but it was bitter and hollow. “You… Who told you to… I don’t want an abortion!”

The words wouldn’t come as I stood gaping. “I… What?”

She took a step away from the edge and then collapsed in the center of the road. To either side of us, the city lights were like stars on that starless night. I knelt beside her on the hard pavement and tried to lift her head.

“Talk to me, please.”

Her body shook as she began to cry. “You shouldn’t have come here tonight. I need to jump. I need to die.”

“What makes you think so?” I asked, stroking the side of her face as I’d done many years ago to my own daughter. “I know teenagers. Most of what they believe comes from other people.”

Her eyes turned upwards, and I saw her face clearly as the moonlight illuminated her tears like streetlamps.

 

This below is a link to Kobo, where you can get it for any device or read it on your computer/phone.

I’m waiting for Amazon to price-match and make it free, so as soon as they do I’ll send you all a link! If you’d rather pay 99 cents for it on Amazon, here’s a link to there.

—There’s plenty more for you to read 🙂 Pre-order your copy here!—

Short Story Review: That One Pretty Thing

**I received a free copy of the short story to review, but who really cares, that doesn’t affect my review at all so yeah read on now kind human being**

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Gaines Post, another good author-friend of mine, penned this short story called That One Pretty Thing and in doing so made quite an entertaining, thoughtful read. The copy I was given was only 11 or 12 pages long, and yet it was the most enjoyable thing I’ve read in quite a while.

This man has some talent for short fiction, so I highly recommend you check him out. You can buy his other short story here and also buy this one here.  Don’t tell me you can’t spare at least 99 cents on one.

And now, without further ado: (have I started a review like this before? Oh well)

gaines posts story that one pretty thing

WHAT I LIKED:

  • The Opening

There’s lots to love about this. From the opening line (see QUOTE below) to the way everything is explained, he does it flawlessly. It explains just enough to keep you reading to the next paragraph while still informing you. I especially love this little bit:

“shattered into a cacophony of panic and finger-pointing. *next paragraph* Fingers are things we took for granted.”

Genius 😉

  • The Memorable Lines

There are so many little quotes and moments through this story that make you think, “Wow, what a talented guy this is.” (The author, not the person in the story.) I’m certain you will think the same. I’ll be quoting lots of lines from this on Goodreads soon, so watch out.

  • Concept

I love the idea for this book. It’s fantastic, and Post handles it so well in this story. I’ve never read anything like it, and I doubt I ever will again. That’s a great thing.

WHAT I DISLIKED:

  • Lack of Quotation -” “- Marks

For some reason, Post doesn’t use quotation marks in the short story. Maybe this is just one way that he writes, or it just went with the story (since it is told from first-person point of view). But anyways, it doesn’t detract from the experience that much, just something I noticed.

  • The Ending

I feel like the ending could have been improved a bit. It was a bit vague, and I can’t say much without spoiling the story but it was confusing to me. Maybe I missed something, but it wasn’t quite what I expected.

MY RATING: 7.5/10

This was book was intriguing, unique, and shocked me. The opening caught me into the story and it held my attention all the way through. I read the whole thing in one sitting, but I’m not sure I could have put it down.

If this hasn’t convinced you yet, go check out the Amazon page and buy here

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My favorite kind of cookies are the chocolate chip ones baked to look like Christmas trees and stuck into a bowl of ice cream. Sadly, I’ve never had them.

The Art of Remakes

Wanna see me relate movie remakes, Coca-Cola, and making somebody smile, all while showing you how to be successful at life? Drop whatever you’re doing and read this article.

–That drawing isn’t by me or anyone I know, sadly. I think the kid who drew it must be very cute.–

bird in nset

There’s a problem with movies

(and it’s not Adam Sandler).

There are no original ideas in Hollywood. At least, that’s what it seems at time. I’m sure you’ve heard that point of view voiced at least once this week. If not, go sit with some people and watch a recent movie. By the end, you’ll hear somebody say it.

“There are no more good movies” or “All these movies seem the same” or “Why can’t they make any new movies?”

Do you disagree? Well, think about the number of series lately, and the number of books split into two parts, and the number of Utopian/Dystopian fiction movies.

One series that captures all of these points is the Divergent Series.

  • Based on three books by Veronica Roth, the three books somehow morphed into four movies, with the third novel (Allegiant) being split into two movies.*
  • In the Dystopian genre, this series borrows many plot points and themes from the recent, burgeoning Dystopian genre. Don’t know what that is? Think Hunger Games.**
  • It’s a series, lastly and obviously. Unless it’s a Comedy movie, the most successful and lucrative movies as of late have been part of series, and often based on a book.

However, series are not the topic of discussion today. There is another category of movies that has been very profitable, and fits into neither the series, made-from-books, or comedy generalizations.

Remakes.

Remakes are unique. After all, if you’ve already seen a movie, how often will you pay to see that exact same movie again? It would reason that remakes wouldn’t be too successful, then.

For an example, let’s use the recent remake of Annie. If you’d already seen it when it first came out in 1982 and wanted to watch again, you could just go back and see the old version for much less money, just renting it no doubt.

Instead, the new version of Annie (2014) was a smashing success, grossing 133 $ dollars and, despite it’s negative reviews from critics, being one of the most-liked remakes (and movies) by the audiences.

 

There are some distinct similarities between remakes and other movies.

  • Both ask the “What if?” question

What if Little Orphan (foster kid!) Annie was a black girl in foster care who grows up in modern-day New York City?

What if Stephen King’s It happened two decades later?

What if Jeff Bridges was Rooster in True Grit instead of John Wayne?

What if The Jungle Book was a completely CGI’d movie, instead of a cartoon? (Have you seen that commercial? Tell me it’s not CGI. Try to tell me. I won’t believe you. Who knows the people aren’t being voiced by robots??)

  • Both can be received very well or very poorly

It’s pretty clear that Hollywood movies are generally either loved or hated. To different degrees, sure, but they’re normally one or the other. It’s the same with remakes, which are received with glowing praise or snickering, shaking-of-heads hatred.

  • Both attract different age groups

Remakes attract the first generation that saw the movie, because they’re at least interested in watching a newer version. Sometimes, this age group hates the movie. Other times, they feel it does great justice. Regardless, this is the target group, because you know who buys the movie tickets for their kids -if it’s a children’s movie- ? Parents.

You know who convinces young adults to go see a movie? Each other.

So you know who remakes target? Parents and young adults, which sometimes are the same thing. This can be done through a multitude of methods, but the truth remains the same.

Why does this matter?

Here’s the question I want to pose. With all that’s been said, we’ve been focusing on movies. Without a doubt, certain genres are dominating certain readerships at the moment (think Dystopian with the YA community and Romance with the adults). I would like to ask you something.

Are remakes possible with books?

Let’s say, for a moment, that you throw out all the copyright mumble jumble and the costs and everything. Just in its purest form, are remakes possible with books?

I would argue that no, they are not.

There are a few reasons you remake a movie.

To have different characters in it, to have different actors, to set it in a new time period, or (most often) to add some new touches with the most up-to-date technology and milk that money-making cow for all it’s worth. (This is the reason Stephen King’s Carrie has three different movies in only twenty years).

 

In the end, you can’t remake a book. And remakes should probably be left alone to the smart movie-making people. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn some things, though.

  1. If people like a book, they will devour everything you give them as long as you keep giving it.
  2. There’s something special about coming back to the same character with a new story. This is why sequels are wonderful, and the conclusions are the best (and why the last Harry Potter movie makes you cry every single time).
  3. Similar to the first point: If people like something and you give them too much, they’ll stop liking it. But if they like it and you give them just enough, they’ll love it forever.

At the end of the day, movies and books are meant to capture your emotions. That’s the purpose of every art. And if art doesn’t do its job, does it really feel like art?

Now, with our culture now being focused significantly on emotions, the world is a very emotional place, and feelings seem to be in control of everything. Have you ever seen the parts of The Giver where Jonas gets the memories? Or those Coca-Cola commercials with the random acts of kindness? (Watch here first and then watch here.)

NOPE. I know you skipped those links. Go watch those videos now. Drop what you’re doing.

The memories and the moments are full of feelings, of power, of emotion. They are reminders that the world isn’t falling apart completely, that there are everyday good people doing good things every day. And that reminder is what I call art.

You don’t have to be an author or a movie-maker or a song-writer to make art. You just have to be alive. Are you alive? If not, please call 9-1-1. If you are, then good. Make some art.

Remind somebody that someone loves them. That the world hasn’t fallen apart. That they haven’t fallen apart.

Make some art.

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*This trend stared with the seventh Harry Potter book and the third Twilight book, but has since been applied to almost every successful book-into-movie franchise.

**This trend also started recently, and now the Young Adult genre is almost synonymous with the Dystopian genre. However, a very famous book by Lois Lowry called The Giver is also a Dystopian novel.

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Book Review: When the Black-Eyed Children Knock & Other Stories

I was surfing the Wattpad (the web? I don’t know) when I stumbled above the creepy looking cover below. It’s for a short story collection by Ben/Benjamin Sobieck, who since has become a good friend of mine. You can read another of his short stories in my book My Abigail, which will be released fairly soon.

Anyways, the first story immediately captured me and I just had to read on. We talked some and I decided I’d write him a review, because he deserved at least that. He’s a great author and an even better guy.

You can read most of this collection here. Or you could buy it here.

when the black eye....

WHAT I LIKED:

  • Knock Knock (first story in collection)

is amazing, out of this world, unique, and genius. I could say a lot about this story. But Sobieck himself put it best on the Amazon description:

Liam is a new father struggling to adapt to life with a baby. Growing more sleepless and paranoid with each passing night, he wonders if the taps on the windows and mysterious faces at the door are all in his head. He’ll find out the terrifying truth when the black-eyed children knock. 

When the Black-Eyed Children Knock is a superbly suspenseful read. You’ll never hear a knock at the door at night in the same way.
I highly recommend this story. If you do nothing else, click on this link and go read it on Wattpad absolutely FREE. It will only take about ten minutes.
  • Stories Are Crisp

Am I eating chips and accidentally describing them? No, kind reader I am not.

His stories are to the point, and don’t mess around in getting there. He doesn’t add any extra fluff just for the page count number.

They are captivating, and hold your attention.

Most importantly, they are interesting. A book with no interesting stories is bland. This book is exact opposite of bland.

  • Stories Are Thoughtful

“What’s that mean?” you are probably asking. Well read on and let me explain. You might as well. You’ve made it this far.

The stories make you think as you read them, questioning your beliefs and asking questions that there may not be easy answers to. That, in the end, is what good literature does: it makes you think. And this is outstanding literature.

WHAT I DISLIKED:

  • Ending of Knock Knock

Basically, without revealing spoilers, you’re left wondering if everything that just happened was real or not. While this is a tactic I see used often, I don’t particularly enjoy it. That’s just my taste, though.

I understand the author (and all those who use it) wanting to ask a question, but it often comes across as too vague.

That said, it wasn’t terrible though. It didn’t diminish the story’s affect in any extreme way.

  • Rest Of Stories’ Power

The rest of the stories are not quite as strong, to put it blatantly. By themselves, they wouldn’t carry their weight. However (there’s always a however in my reviews I guess), they still remain what I said above: to the point, interesting, captivating.

Sometimes they will have less interest-factor or be less captivating, but you know what always makes up for that, 100 % of the time? Knowing that if you don’t like the story, it’s over by the next page.

And if you absolutely hate them, go read Knock Knock another five times.

TOP 3 STORIES (something I only do for short story collections):

  1. Knock Knock
  2. The Finger in the Freezer
  3. EVP

MY RATING: 7.5/10

Knock Knock really carries this collection, but that’s okay. Most collections do have “that one short story” that binds them all together and makes the price worth it.

I quite enjoyed reviewing a collection of short stories, as opposed to a novel. Maybe this will become a habit.

 

Once again, you can read most of this collection here. Or you could buy it here. Or check out the links below for him:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/10100917877518451

Twitter: https://twitter.com/benjaminsobieck

His (Very Interesting) Blog: http://crimefictionbook.com/

Smashwords Profile: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/benjaminsobieck

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/BenSobieck

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If any of ya’ll have Google Hangouts, come hangout! (Yes, that’s a joke. Permission to laugh).