Action, Books, Comic/Book Adaptation, Fiction, Films, Reviewing, Stephen King, Two Star Rating

Friday Film Chat- ‘The Dark Tower’ (With Spoilers)

the dark tower

 

I have been a MASSIVE fan of Stephen King since I was about 14 (so a few years now…….maybe…..), but ‘The Dark Tower’ series had passed me by. That was until this summer, when I started reading these novels in preparation for the ‘Dark Tower’s’ release.

I’m now on the third novel of the series and completely hooked, so I was excited to watch this film. I had seen a few bad reviews of this, but decided to go to watch it, in order to make up my own mind about this film.

There are some good elements about this novel which I really enjoyed. The depiction of Mid-World was absolutely spot on and although Idris Elba doesn’t fit the physical description of the character in the book, I think the attitude he conveys is perfect. I also really liked Tom Taylor as Jake.

Now, for the problems. There were quite a few elements which let this film down. I didn’t think that Matthew McConaughey played a convincing role as The Man In Black AKA Walter O’Dim. In my opinion he was a generic, slightly pantomime villain, rather than really embodying the character, as Stephen King had written it.

This novel is packed with mythology and back story which mostly revolves around Roland, his family and friends and how he became a Gunslinger. There were moments in which the characters started to talk about these things during the film and I was excited to think that the film was going to get to the essence of the first novel. However, I felt frustrated that any back story or mythology which was mentioned through the film’s appalling dialogue was simply glossed over, instead of expanded on.

For me, it actually felt like the producers and scriptwriters simply skim read the novels and then decided to make up the majority of this film. I can only think of two or three instances where any of the story from the first book, was transferred into the film. The rest, was completely untrue. These included: Jacob’s entrance into the story, the ending, the way in which The Man in Black was trying to take down the Dark Tower and Jake’s family and the list goes on.

Now I know film adaptations can’t always feature every single element of a book, but to be honest, I struggled to find ANY similarities between the book and the film.

Doing a book justice in film form is possible. A good example is Peter Jackson’s adaptations of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. You can tell by watching those films, that Peter Jackson loved the novels and wanted to do them justice. So it annoys me to think that the producers and screenwriters in charge of adapting ‘The Dark Tower’ series, simply didn’t care and were only concerned about making money. In fact I think this would have been received a bit better than it has been, if the producers had taken their time and allowed the plot to breath a bit more. Stephen King was consulted during the making of the film, so it’s also disappointing that he passed this film as acceptable.

If you haven’t read the novels, you may mildly enjoy this forgettable film. If you are a fan of the novels however, you will be sorely disappointed.

My Rating: ** 1/2

Have you watched this film? What did you think of it?

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Books, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Three Star Rating

Review: ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodie Picoult (Contains Spoilers)

my sisters keeper

 

Anna Fitzgerald doesn’t want her sister to die. But she’s sick of helping her to live.

Anna was born to be a perfect genetic match for Kate, who at just two years old was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. For thirteen years, she has acted as donor to her sister.

Now, Kate needs a kidney, and nobody is asking Anna how she feels about it, they’re just assuming she will donate.

Until the Sheriff serves the papers that will rock their family’s world: Anna is suing her parents for the rights to her own body . . .

My Thoughts:

Seeing as my last book review was of ‘The Tenth Circle’ by Jodi Picoult, I thought that I would jump start my reviews, with another one of Picoult’s novels.

The premise of this novel seemed very interesting and grabbed my attention straight away. I think that Picoult’s attempt to tackle controversial topics, is something which drew me to her books in the first place.

This book approaches the idea of genetically modifying a child in order to save another sibling, with diverse writing.

Each of the chapters are dedicated to the points of view of several different characters; Anna Fitzgerald the main character, Kate Fitzgerald, Anna’s sister who has a terminal illness, Jesse Fitzgerald, their brother and their parents Sara and Brian  Fitzgerald.

Outside of the Fitzgerald family, chapters are dedicated to expressing the points of view of Julia Romano, who acts as Anna’s guardian during legal proceedings and Campbell Alexander, Anna’s lawyer.

Whilst I liked the idea of reading the situation from different perspectives, at first, I found the individual chapters, took a bit of getting used to. I frequently had to keep going back, in order to remember who each character was. Despite that, I think that Picoult’s characters are equally believable and well rounded. Each character had its strengths and weaknesses and I think this helped me to invest in the story.

I even thought that the romantic element between Julia and Campbell fitted in very well with the book’s very heavy topic.

The main problem for me about this book and it was a pretty big one, was the ending.

Due to the fact that this novel asks you to believe and invest a lot of time and emotion in the characters, the ending left me feeling furious and cheated. ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ goes into great detail about the proceedings of a court case and is very thorough at presenting a realistic representation of the law. Therefore, to simply put all of her characters through all of this heartache and stress in the court case, to come to a decision and yet write an ending which just felt convenient, I feel that Jodi Picoult demeans her readers by giving them that ending. I was so annoyed by the last few chapters, that I actually wanted to throw the book out of the window in frustration!

It’s not the first time this has happened with Picoult’s novels. So far, I have read two of her books and both have had endings which have nicely wrapped up the story, but have not tackled the gritty topics she focuses on, in a satisfactory way.

I’m willing to give Jodi Picoult one more chance, but after that, if her novels still continue to offer the reader a patronizing, ‘warm and fuzzy’ ending, then I will not continue to read any more of her novels.

‘My Sister’s Keeper’ starts with promise, but falls very flat at the end.

My Rating ***

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Blogging, Books, Life

I’m back!

I’m a terrible blogger. There, I’ve said it.

I could write another one of those posts where I apologize for not posting in a long time and give you the reasons why, like life got in the way and all of those usual excuses, but I won’t.

Instead, I’ve come back to what I love doing and that is talking about books, films and TV programmes and I promise you that I will do my upmost best to post at least twice week. If I can post more frequently, then that’s a bonus.

I haven’t stopped reading since I last posted though. Reading remains a constant in my life. Over the last few months I have read the following novels:

‘A is for Alibi’Sue Grafton

‘A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man And His Cat Found Hope On The Streets’James Bowen 

‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’ John Tiffany 

The ‘His Dark Materials’ Trilogy-Philip Pullman 

‘Billy and Me’Giovanna Fletcher 

‘My Sister’s Keeper’Jodi Picoult

‘The Gunslinger’Stephen King

It has been a mixed bag with my choices of reading. Some of these titles I have enjoyed like ‘A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man And His Cat Found Hope On The Streets’ and some that I haven’t enjoyed, for example, ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ (possibly a controversial choice). However, I haven’t stopped enjoying the reading experience.

Writing has been put on the back burner over the last few months, I’ve probably written a handful of pages. By getting back into blogging, I hope that this will re-ignite my passion for writing.

I have some exciting plans for future blogs. I want to start a regular film reviewing series and possibly collaborate with other bloggers, so keep coming back to see what’s new on the blog!

If you have any suggestions or would like to collaborate with me on future posts, then post in the comment box below, or send me a tweet on Twitter.

Have you read or want to read any of the books I have read over the last few months? Have you made any new book discoveries that you think I need to read?

Look out for some film talk on Friday!

Books, First Paragraph Tuesday, Reading

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

‘First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday’ is hosted by ‘Bibliophile By The Sea’. Each week, I’ll share with you the first paragraph of a novel I’m currently reading or want to read in the future.

This week’s paragraph is from ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’ by David Mitchell:

‘The House of Kawasemi the Concubine, above Nagasaki’. The Ninth Night of the Fifth Month.

‘Miss Kawasemi?’ Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon. ‘Can you hear me?’

In the rice paddy beyond the garden, a cacophony of frogs detonates.  Orito dabs the concubine’s sweat-drenched face with a damp cloth.

‘She’s barely spoken,’ the maid holds the lamp ‘for hours and hours…’

‘Miss Kawasemi, my name’s Aibagawa. I’m a midwife. I want to help.’

Kawasemi’s eyes flicker open. She manages a frail sigh. Her eyes shut. She is too exhausted, Orito thinks, even to fear dying tonight.’

Would you continue reading?

Books, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Romance, Two Star Rating

REVIEW- ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks

the notebook

What the ‘Blurb’ says:

How far can love endure?

Noah Calhoun has just returned from World War Two. Attempting to escape the ghosts of battle, he tries to concentrate on restoring an old plantation home to its former glory. And yet he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met there fourteen years before, a girl who captured his heart like no other.

But when these distant memories begin to slide into reality, the passion that had lain still is ignited once more. Though so much is in their way, the miraculous force of their love refuses to fade.

My Thoughts

Firstly I have to admit that romance isn’t a genre I normally read, but on the recommendation of a friend, I decided to give this novel a go.

What I liked about the story was Noel, one of the main characters. He is believable and likeable. The romantic story between Noah and Allison, is very well told. It does come close to being too over sentimental, but just about gets away with it.

The problems I had with this book, were contained within the later half. The issues this book deals with is, as far as I can imagine, were well told and researched. I do think that those issues could have been developed more though.

I also felt disappointed with the story, at the last page of this novel. I didn’t expect this book to end as it did. Some people may be satisfied by the way this novel ends, but I thought that it was slightly far-fetched and ruined the story a little for me.

I wasn’t entirely keen on the slow pace of the novel either. I can imagine this novel to be perfect for the lazy days of summer, when there is no rush to go anywhere. I prefer slightly faster paced novels.

After reading this review you may think that I didn’t enjoy this novel at all, but I thought it was a reasonably enjoyable read.

Whilst I wouldn’t rush to read this again, I think that ‘The Notebook’ would make a readable, beach novel.

My Rating **

Ann Shreve, Books, First Paragraph Tuesday

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

‘First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday’ is hosted by ‘Bibliophile By The Sea’. Each week, I’ll share with you the first paragraph of a novel I’m currently reading or want to read in the future.

This week’s paragraph is from ‘Eden Close’ by Anita Shreve. I’ve read another Anita Shreve novel ‘Sea Glass’, you can find my review here.

‘The air lay as heavy as water in the square dark rooms of the farmhouse. The house was still, sounds indistinct and muffled, as if heard through cloth. Upstairs, in the boy’s room, the clock over the desk ticked away the minutes just past midnight. In the next room, where the boy’s parents slept, there was the soft rattle of an old fan, moving the thick air from outside the house to inside and over his parents’ bodies. As they had done nearly every hot night that summer, they had offered the fan to the boy, but the boy, aware that summer for the first time of his parent’s age, had refused to take it from them.’

Would you read on?

Ann Shreve, Books, Fiction, Four Star Rating, Reviewing

REVIEW- ‘Sea Glass’ by Ann Shreve

seaglass

What the ‘blurb’ says:

Anita Shreve’s new novel Sea Glass represents a remarkable advance. She previously caught the attention of many readers with Fortune’s Rocks and The Pilot’s Wife, beautifully crafted novels with rich and subtly observed characterisation. But however impressive those books were, Sea Glass has the same adroit creation of character, but the prose is even more rich and allusive. This is a story of the human heart, of the demands of the past, and of the necessity for pragmatism in human relationships. It’s 1929, and Honora Beecher and her husband Sexton are enjoying their new marriage in a cottage on the coast of New Hampshire. Honora is renovating the rundown property and searching for pieces of coloured glass washed up on the beach. Sexton attempts to buy the house they both adore, but with disastrous results: like many other Americans, he is a victim of the stock market crash and is financially wiped out. He is forced to work in a nearby mill, where a labour conflict is having violent results. The couple’s struggle to maintain their marriage in the face of dangerous forces that threaten to overwhelm them is vividly and poignantly told.

Shreve has written nine novels and throughout her work she has painstakingly honed her storytelling skills with elegance and intelligence. She is particularly skilful at depicting interlocking lives, as in Sea Glass, and adroitly invests each with its own portion of love and tragedy. If you want to be one of the “early adopters” of Shreve’s cherishable novels, now is the time:

In the wet sand by her foot, a bit of colour catches her eye. The glass is green pale and cloudy, the colour of lime juice that has been squeezed into a glass. She brushes the sand off and presses the sea glass into her palm, keeping it for luck.

My Thoughts:

Having never read any novels by Anita Shreve, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I embarked on ‘Sea Glass’. What I’ve discovered, is a writer who has an incredible talent for description. The landscapes and details within the novel are so beautiful, it’s like she is painting a picture in your mind, by only using words.

I must admit that it took me a while to really settle down into this novel. Due to the story being told through several different characters, all of which are completely different, I wasn’t sure where this novel was going. With a bit of persistence it became clear.

This novel isn’t exactly a complete story. What I mean by this, is that it is complete (it is a book with a beginning, a middle and an end), but ‘Sea Glass’ focusses on one period of time, in which the characters find themselves dealing with different issues. The characters within this novel are believable, well rounded and vivid. Through them, this book perfectly encapsulates the glamour and struggles people faced, within the 1920’s. The love story also isn’t over sentimental and fits within the book as a whole.

The only criticism I could give about this novel, is its slower pace. Then again, this may be just personal preference. Nevertheless, I think that ‘Sea Glass‘ is a beautiful novel and I look forward to reading more novels by Ann Shreve.

My Rating ****