Category Archives: Films

Book Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

It was bethe hosttter than Twilight. But that’s really not saying much.

First though: an admission! I actually did enjoy aspects of this book. I thought the idea behind it was very interesting, and it did keep me interested throughout. However, it made me very very angry. Mostly because of the types of characters Stephenie Meyer promotes and idolises. Great idea, shame it was written by her.

I would love to see the day when Stephenie Meyer realises that a love interest does not need to be an older man who physically assaults the main character. In The Host, the main character has two love interests (sound familiar?), one who tries to strangle her with his bare hands, the other who repeatedly knocks her around, causing her physical pain and injury. How romantic! I can barely contain my hope that I will one day meet a man just like Jared or Ian. And they fight over her, too! There is nothing more romantic than that!

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fantasy, Films, Of concern, Ranting, Reading, Social commentary

Of Fandoms and Fanaticism

There is something about finding a fandom. A fandom is like a home, for us nerdy folks. A fandom is somewhere you belong, a place that exists where you can share your love for something with others who love it too.

HP fanart by MARTA

For years now, I have ‘belonged’ within the Harry Potter fandom. Harry Potter is a very large part of the reason why my best friend and I ever became friends. It has been something to bond over, something to laugh and cry over. We have read and written fanfiction, ‘awwwww’d and drooled over fanart, and attended the midnight screenings of the last two films.

All of this has cemented our friendship. It has ensured that we always have that special something between us that makes us who we are, that makes us us. Naturally, there are other things now which keep us together. Other pleasures, loves, and hates. Other fandoms, other stories to laugh and cry over. But Harry Potter was the first thing. And we always have it to come back to.

My point has wandered somewhat, but it all comes back to the same thing. I have been contemplating the power of fandoms. The ability of a fandom to share a love of something, to make that thing grow beyond what it originally was. I am talking about fanfiction and fanart, but also about the sharing that exists within a fandom. This has been increasingly emphasised to me through tumblr, where fans blog and reblog the words and images that they love about a particular fandom.

The ability to do this keeps the fandom alive within their minds, and their hearts. The fact is that I never really loved Harry Potter until I was introduced to the Harry Potter fandom. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books. The Harry Potter fandom made me love them.

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Is it okay to be left handed?

Just found this: another pretty awesome Australian video encouraging an awareness of bullying issues. The video was created for Beyond Blue, an Australian organisation which aims to prevent and support instances of depression. In the video, a boy is being bullied and tormented because he is left-handed – this is linked to LGBT issues and raises the question: why would you torment someone for being who they are?

A very interesting video!

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Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I have just finished an epic reading of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (epic, because of the sheer size of the novel at 806 pages, and also because I read it over two and a half months), and largely I have found that I enjoyed it, that I liked it. But I did not love it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Anna Karenina is an incredibly well written book, and Tolstoy engages with the key issues of humanity in a magnificent way. The novel is filled with dialogue on moral, philosophical and social issues, as well as the everyday demands of the character’s lives. And this is where I find issue with the novel. I am a simple reader – I like my stories to consist of well-structured characters who find themselves in situations (whether they be realistic or fantastic) that force them to reassess their own views and actions, to change and adapt in order to survive and to thrive. Anna Karenina is not that kind of book.

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Tagged (Cyberbullying)

Tagged is an Australian short film that deals with the effects and implications of cyberbullying. I mentioned it a bazillion years ago (Facebook and Cyberbullying), but only just got around to watching it, and I’m glad I did.

Tagged is brilliantly filmed, and deals with the issues surrounding cyberbullying in a fantastic, and highly realistic way. This is a must watch, particularly for anyone involved in schooling (teachers, staff, students, parents = anyone!). Digital ethics education is becoming increasingly important, and it is only through using and promoting films like this that we can ensure that everyone is aware of the implications of using the Internet for harm.

Go on, watch it! I think it’s fantastic.

Also, Tagged has managed to win Internation Media Awards for its portrayal of key social issues.

One last point before I go:

At the end of the day, cyber bullying and sexting don’t just affect the victim; it can have a significant effect on whole communities.

This is a serious issue for twenty-first century life and learning, don’t let it go unnoticed

 

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 19

Day 19: Favourite book turned into a movie.

I’m cheating a little with this one by having two books! Mostly because I love them both and really couldn’t decide on just one!

First up, one of my favourite books!

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

I just love everything about this novel. The characterisations, the drama, the mythology, questions about the Enlightenment…! I could go on and on! (And have! I once wrote a 2000 word essay on how Shelley’s view of the Enlightenment was reflected in the novel. I thought it was pretty darn good, and so did my lecturer!)

Just… Amazing. But I have always been frustrated by the way it gets adapted into film. Let’s get one thing straight – Frankenstein is the doctor, the ‘monster’ (and I hate that term!) is referred to as the ‘creature’. And he is not pure evil… That’s part of the beauty of the novel, for it is humanity that brings about evil in the end – seriously, read this book. And if you want to watch it, you can’t go past Kenneth Brannagh’s 1994 version starring himself, Helena Bonham Carter and Robert DeNiro. It does take some license with the original story, but the performances are superb, and it is largely accurate. Fantastic! (Alternatively: try and get your hands on the National Theatre Live version, directed by Danny Boyle and starring Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch in alternating roles. Simply fantastic! I can’t wait to see it again!)

And now, probably my favourite film!

Harvey – Mary Chase (play)

This movie really needs to speak for itself – it is so hard to describe a film this magical, amazing and heartwarming – as well as funny, clever and so very sly! The 1950 film (pictured above) starred James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd – a lovely actor playing the world’s loveliest and kindest character. Elwood P. Dowd is the constant embarassment and humiliation for his sister, Veta, who tries to have him committed on account of his invisible(?) friend, Harvey. Harvey is a 6ft tall white rabbit, and Elwood’s constant companion. This is a comedy of errors and brilliantly acted out by the whole cast. Really, I can’t recommend this enough. You should go out and watch it. Or read the play, they are really very similar.

 

Elwood P. Dowd:”Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she’d say “In this world, Elwood, you can be oh so so smart, or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart… I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

 

 

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Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I’ll admit it; I did enjoy reading Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games. I read the whole thing in two days, the intriguing world and concept of the games ensuring that I wanted to keep reading.

But I wouldn’t read it again. And I don’t want to read the sequels.

I know this is going to lose me points, but I just can’t say that I loved this book.

What I most enjoyed about The Hunger Games was the world that Collins developed. It is so easy to see aspects of our society within the world of Panem, so easy to draw links between our own thirst for entertainment and the use of fights to the death to keep the masses both under control, and entertained.

However, I felt let down by the characters.

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