Brief Reviews

My apologies for the lack of new reviews over the past few weeks.  I find that “real life” gets in the way occasionally and I can’t seem to find the time to give things I’ve read the attention they deserve to write a review worthy of the readers.   That said, here are just a few notes on some things I’ve read and watched the last few weeks that sort of fit here and sort of don’t:

Step Up:  Certainly some significant content in this movie, but nothing that hasn’t been told before.  The performances were good but the storyline was shy on originality and more than a little slow.  What I did love about this movie, though, was that it didn’t try to reap sympathy for the “bad deeds” of the characters.  The viewer was aware that circumstances certainly increased the likelihood of doing such things, but that the individuals involved still ultimately had a choice about it. 

Snakes on a Plane:  Perhaps the most insignificant and uninspirational movie I’ve watched since BloodRayne, this one at least has decent special effects and is entertaining.  It’s worth renting for the gag reel.  Seriously.

Crank: Again, I found this to be lacking in significance and inspiration, but it’s a pretty good movie in terms of pure entertainment.  Falling somewhere between a Pulp Fiction and Natural Born Killers, it’s high on action and low on thought.  Definitely ranks up in there on my “wierdest friggin’ movie ever” list.

The Gift: Billy Bob Thornton wrote another big winner with this one.  It’s deserving of a full review, but too much Billy Bob in one place might be overkill.  Performances were incredible, particularly those by Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi.  My complaints in this film include the fact that Keanu Reeves, however wonderful his actual acting was in this, is simply not scary and that the main storyline is entirely too predictable.  I’d give this one a Significance Factor of 4 considering the well-researched portrayal of domestic violence and rural poverty and an Inspiration Factor of 3.

Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Stover.  I picked up this rather large book because of a general frustration with the lack of good fantasy written recently.  I printed a list of novels classified as “fantasy” and chose the one without a dragon on the cover (silly huh?) in hopes that I’d find something unique.  It’s certainly unique.  This book is about 3/4 fantasy and 1/4 science fiction, filled with politics, gods and goddesses, magic and violence, and a view of a stringent futuristic caste system.  The truly scary thing about the world Stover creates is its believability.  While I wouldn’t call this the most significant or inspirational novel I’ve ever read, it’s certainly worth reading, particularly if you have an interest in cross-genre and experimental work.

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