Dear Readers…

I have switched to a self-hosted blog. Unfortunately, that means that I can’t bring my WordPress email subscribers with me (at least, not that I know of). I would really love it if you would all come with me though! All you have to do is go to http://owltellyouaboutit.com, and that will take you to the new site. There is an email subscription there that will be delivered by Feedburner. I hope you will come and re-subscribe. Thanks so much for reading!

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me at lauraashlee@gmail.com.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (movie)

Title: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Director: David Fincher
Writers: Steven Zaillian, Stieg Larsson (novel)
Series: Millennium #1
Production Co: MGM
Release Date: 12/20/2011
Length: 158 minutes
Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Rating: R

Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.

I went into this a little wary. I have both read the book and seen the Swedish movie. I was worried when they decided to make an American version, but I think it might be better than both the book and the Swedish movie. Wait! Don’t kill me yet! I’ve always been a big believer in the book is better than the movie, but this is a little different.

I always felt like the plot to the book was solid. It’s what kept me interested. Well, that and Lisbeth’s character. The only thing that I had trouble with was that it was so detailed. It was detailed to the point of driving me insane. I really think a good chunk of the book could have been edited out. Well, in the movie it is! I thought they did an amazing job bringing this book to the screen. It was entertaining the whole time, instead of sometimes boring. There was no dwelling on points that could be made in just a few minutes, and that kept me engaged the entire time.

I was pretty unsure about Daniel Craig as Blomkvist, but he quickly became the character for me. And Rooney Mara was absolutely superb. I think she has Lisbeth down pat. The mannerisms and expressions are perfect. Oh, and Stellan Skarsgard was sufficiently creepy as Martin Vanger. I couldn’t have imagined it any better. In fact, I didn’t think they would use Swedish accents. I was pleasantly surprised when most of the cast actually sounded like they were from Sweden!

I’m actually really excited about the next two films. I love it when bookish movies are done well!

Warning: There are some scenes in this movie that are hard to watch. Not for the faint of heart!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

Title: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Author: Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett
Series: N/A
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: 4/1/1982
Length: 32 pages
Format: Board book
Genres: Childrens, Picture Books
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge
Source: Library
Purchase: Boardbook | Hardcover | Paperback
Rating: ★★★☆☆

In Chewandswallow, meals rain from the sky at appropriate times of the day, but a change in the weather blows in massive problems.

I wanted to read this after seeing the movie and never got around to it until now. I was looking up childrens’ books on my to-read spreadsheet and this was one that popped up. It’s not quite like the movie. There are similarities, and the book is good, but I think I like the movie better. In the book, the story of Chewandswallow and their unusual meteorological activity is just a bedtime story for two children. Their Grandpa was inspired to tell it after his grandson was pelted in the face with a flyaway pancake at breakfast. The similarities lie in the food falling from the sky, the food getting bigger, and the people of Chewandswallow having to leave their home so they aren’t flatted by an enormous steak or something. I was very unsure about the art, at first. I didn’t really like it, but when the story of Chewandswallow started, and the book was suddenly in color, I liked it much better. It’s still not my favorite. I tend to like more cartoony art in childrens’ books, but there’s no doubting the illustrator is a good artist. This is a good one for your kiddies. It’s a little silly, but cute. I would suggest reading the book before watching the movie. The other way around might prove disappointing.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Last week I read…

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes

Pyxis: The Discovery by KC Neal

I reviewed…

Hana-Kimi, Volume 7 by Hisaya Nakajo

Life is But a Dream by Brian James

One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick

Much Ado About Rogues by Kasey Michaels

The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu by Michelle Franklin

This week I’m reading…

Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne

Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Reid has spent her life protecting her sister, Jaime, from their parents’ cruel mistakes. Their father, who’d rather work the system than a job, pours every dollar into his many vices, denying his daughters the shoes and clothing they need. Their mother, once a loving parent, is going through a post-post-adolescent rebellious streak and finds love with a dangerous ex-con. When she chooses starting a new family over raising her first-born girls, Elizabeth and Jaime are separated and forced to rely on the begrudging kindness of increasingly distant relatives.

A string of broken promises that begins with Liz’s mother swearing, “I would never hurt you, Liz. You’re family,” propels her between guest beds in two states searching for a safe home. All the while, Liz is burdened by her stake in a bleak pact with a deceitful adult: to tell the truth about the darkest of her circumstances will cost her the ability to shelter Jaime. As Liz spirals into the abyss of fear and shame that haunts her sleepless nights, can she break free from her bonds in time to fight for her life?

I’m also still working on Steve Jobs and Mistress by Midnight. The bloggiesta stole my reading time this week. I also didn’t get to read my manga volume, so I won’t be able to participate in Manga Monday! Oh noes!

The Hunger Games (movie)

the-hunger-games-movie-poster

Title: The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Production Co: Lionsgate
Release Date: 3/23/2012
Length: 142 minutes
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-fi, Thriller
Rating: PG-13

In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

Warning: There are spoilers. If you have not read the books or seen the movie, proceed at your own risk.

I was convinced before heading to the theater that this would be a really great movie. And with the following the books have, the production company would be crazy to stray far. Upon leaving the theater, I was 100% satisfied. I think this movie adaptation was perfect and I can’t wait to see the next two on screen.

I was amazed by how much of the book was right there on the screen. Sure, it didn’t play out exactly the way the book does, but it can’t. Page-to-screen is hard to pull off and there are key decisions that have to be made. For instance, in the book, Katniss can be thinking about the people back in her district or what the people in the capital are seeing, but there’s no way to transfer that on screen. You have to just show it as its happening, and I was happy that I saw that. I thought it was all handled well. There may have been some tiny details that could have been included to help people who haven’t read the book understand a little more what’s going on. My boyfriend was asking me questions about it after we left because some of it didn’t make sense to him. Aside from that, the plot was handled well and there was little left out.

Jennifer did a fantastic job as Katniss. She was perfect. Whether she really looks like Katniss was described is irrelevant. She was the right person for the part. I loved her. I thought Josh Hutcherson did a good job as well. He didn’t get quite as much time to shine as she did, but that’s understandable since she’s the main character. And Rue? Oh, my heart. I shed tears when she died. It was so, so sad.

I think what struck me the most was how powerful it all was. I can pretty much read about anything because if I don’t want to get emotional about it, I can just disconnect myself from it a little. It’s that simple. If I don’t want to envision, I don’t. I read it and understand it, but I leave it at that. I think that’s how I processed The Hunger Games trilogy. It’s impossible to do that when it’s displayed on a giant screen in front of you. The poverty of District 11, the riot, and the heartlessness in the arena is all there. There was no way to disconnect myself from that and it honestly made the message come across stronger than it did when I first read the book. I’m not saying the movie is better, because I don’t think it is. I’m just saying it really carries the message that Suzanne Collins intended and it’s a hard one to ignore.

They did a pretty good job keeping the violence on a PG-13 level, so it’s safe for teens, maybe even a little younger than thirteen. If you read the book, I really urge you to watch the movie. If you didn’t, I really urge you to do both.

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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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