Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Round-Up#14 (Bumper Edition)

Film Review: Case 39: I had a little argument with myself before writing this review. I was considering whether this film was worth your time or not. In fact, I was mulling over the fact that this film is not good by any stretch of the imagination. But, still, there is something about it, about its craziness, its frantic energy, its sheer silliness that made me like it. Yes. I admit it. I like it. This film is the very definition of guilty pleasure. It is loud, silly, and with enough polish to make it think of itself as something better than it really is.

So why am I wasting my time and yours reviewing it? Well, because it is loads of fun! Come on, who can resist seeing Academy-Award Winner Renee Zelwegger giving a delightfully hysterical performance, which includes her being deathly afraid of an 11 year-old girl who might be a demon wanting to eat her! The film also includes gruesome deaths by cutlery, fire, wasps, and a finale that throws everything but the kitchen sink.

They just don't make them like this anymore.

No wonder the film has been lying on the shelf at Paramount Studios for the last two years. This is a film out of time; this is a film that would have been perfect drive-in fodder back in the mid to late Eighties (minus the A-Class stars and big budget, of course).

So, what's the final verdict? Guilty of being a guilty pleasure. Grab a bowl of popcorn and get ready to see an Oscar winner run for her life from an annoying child actress pretending to be evil incarnate. I guarantee that, if in the right mood, you and yours will enjoy it.

Book Review: The Cold Spot by Tom Piccirilli: Every once in a while you come across a book that reminds you why you fell in love with Livre-Noir in the first place. The atmosphere, the tension, the shadowy anti-heroes, the femme fatales, and the whopping good story. The Cold Spot is one such book. Author Tom Piccirilli writes a book that is gritty, modern and reminiscent of vintage 40's noir at the same time. The story revolving around a young getaway driver - who was forced into crime by his sociopathic grandfather - who plans to avenge his wife's killers, is compelling, emotional, thrilling, and, ultimately, haunting. Piccirilli's prose is smooth and lean; you won't find an ounce of fat on his plotting, descriptive passages or dialogue. This is minimalism at its most effective. He hits you with one storytelling magic trick after another and before you know it, the book is over and you're hungry for more time with these characters (the ones who are still alive, anyway). But not to worry, the sequel, The Coldest Mile, is already out. Thank you, Tom.

Book Review: Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean: J.M Barrie's Peter Pan has delighted children and grown-ups alike for decades. And for good reason. It is a book that makes one feel like a child again, makes your imagination go wild and your heart warm.

Now, almost a century later, comes the official sequel, Peter Pan in Scarlet. The only way I can describe how good this book is, is by saying that it was worth the wait!

This is a book that reminds you why you fell in love with reading in the first place. This is a wondrous piece of work that does the impossible. Surpass the original. Author Geraldine McCaughrean manages to write a book that is pure magic. Taking place roughly two decades after the events of the original, the story revolves around Wendy and the lost boys - all grown up now - who have to go back to Neverland to try to stop their dreams about it, which are starting to invade their everyday lives. So back they go, and what they find is a completely changed Neverland and a transformed Peter Pan, a Peter Pan in Scarlet. Saying anymore would be a crime. Suffice to say, this is a book that will warm your heart, set your imagination on fire, and enchant you no matter how young or old you are. A literary dream come true.

Extra! Boston Legal: The Complete Series: This edition's Extra! is Boston Legal: The Complete Series. Created by David E. Kelly and starring James Spader and William Shatner, this series, which lasted for five seasons, is TV at its finest. Funny, relevant, off-kilter, superbly written, and endlessly compelling, this is a series that manages to do something that 99% of what's on TV nowadays can't seem to pull off. Be intelligent and entertaining at the same time. If you haven't seen it, start doing so immediately. Your brain will thank you for it.

Next time, I'll be sharing with you the Best Films and Books of 2009.

Till then, keep browsing those shelves!

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