Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Review - The Terminal Man by Michael Crichton

Rating: 9/10

Harry Benson suffers from psychomotor epilepsy. He often has seizures which are followed by blackouts, which often result to his injuring someone near him fatally. Doctors Ellis and Morris of the University Hospital are certain that they can "cure" Benson of these seizures by implanting 40 electrodes in his brain that would stop the seizures from occurring. However, a female psychiatrist, Janet Ross, and an emeritus professor, Manon, question the nature of Benson's mind which is, according to them, psychotic. In spite of this, the two doctors operate on Benson. The operation is successful and things seem to be going well, until Benson finds a way to stimulate the seizures himself. He escapes the hospital, and starts wreaking havoc.

The Terminal Man is basically a medical fiction novel, but I completely understood it. That alone makes it awesome. It's readable and easy to understand, even for a non-scientific person (like me). What Michael Crichton suggested here - mind control - is not far from happening, and it's really, really scary. (That's probably the reason why I read sci-fi - because it predicts things that could happen in the future)

Another subject that is discussed in the novel is the idea that machines are replacing people. This is indeed true in our present day. We've probably heard of workers losing their jobs because machines are being installed in factories for faster production. In this concept, I don't think Benson was psychotic, because it's happening right now.

The idea of a brain pacemaker is cool, I think. But, of course, it has its down side too, as Crichton discussed in the novel. Take that Backerman guy for example. Medical science is trying to find ways to cure people, not entertain them.

Now, mind control is interesting. I liked that paragraph about humans having their minds controlled since birth. This is one of the things that happen which is not usually noticed by most people. Mind control is a reality.

Okay. So I pretty much liked The Terminal Man. Next to Tess Gerritsen's Gravity, this is one of the best medical fiction book I've read (so far).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Movie Review - The Last Airbender

Rating: 4/10

The Last Airbender is the movie adaptation of the highly rated Nickelodeon series, Avatar. Basically, it is set in an elemental world composed of four nations: Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. There are some people who are gifted with the art of bending their natural element. The Avatar, looked upon as the peacemaker, is able to bend all the elements. However, the Fire Nation wants power and begins to conquer the world. The Avatar, though, disappears. Water Nation siblings Sokka (Jackson Rahtbone) and Katara (Nicola Peltz) "discover" an airbender, Aang (Noah Ringer), and his flying bison Appa frozen in ice. They find out later on that this boy is the Avatar, and that he has disappeared for nearly a hundred years.

I think the movie sucked because of  a number of reasons:
1. M.Night Shyamalan packed the whole first season in a 1 hour and something minute film, rendering people who have no idea about the cartoon series unable to comprehend it. Even I, who watched the series, am a bit confused about the turn-out of events. :/
2. Jackson Rathbone as Sokka DID NOT work. Nuh-uh. He just doesn't exude that kind of humorous aura that the cartoon Sokka has. He's too serious and the punch lines just don't work.
3. Uncle Iroh's funny lines are missing. Okay, so there was only one line that made me laugh: "I told them you were on vacation with a girl." But that's about it. Oh well.
4. The casting just didn't work. I mean, Dev Patel's okay (coughbiascoughbiascoughbiascough) as Zuko but I have problems with the others. Noah Ringer can't act. Nicola Peltz is okay but she's not as awesome as Summer Bishil (Azula). The Fire Nation citizens are Indians, Earth Nation citizens are Koreans, and Water Nation citizens are Caucasian. I don't think I have problems with the Air Nomads.
5. Momo has a small role. HAHA! I personally think Momo should have had more screen time.
6. The movie could have been longer. A lot longer. :/

The Last Airbender could have been improved. M.Night Shyamalan did great movies before but this just didn't work. The special effects are awesome, though.

But Twilight's a lot worse, don't worry. :D 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Movie Review - The Cat Returns

Rating: 10/10

The Cat Returns
is the story of Haru (Anne Hathaway), a girl to whom the cats feel indebted to because she saved their prince. To repay her kindness, the Cat King (Tim Curry) decides to have her marry his son. Haru thinks it is a ridiculous idea but she knows that the cats will definitely do it. While pondering her situation, she hears a voice telling her to "find the Cat Bureau" by first looking for a white cat in the cross roads. She does so (a bit skeptically, I should think) and soon finds herself in a world where creations come alive. She meets two such creations: Toto (Elliott Gould), a crow statue, and The Baron (Cary Elwes), a cat figurine (first seen in Whisper of the Heart). She also meets a fat, white cat named Muta (Peter Boyle). Together, they try to escape the clutches of the Cat King. With these three uncommon companions, Haru learns an important lesson: believing in oneself.

NYAA~ I think it's a fabulous, fabulous, fabulous, meow-tastic movie! (I could say that I liked this better than Whisper of the Heart.) It's not just because Studio Ghibli produced it, but because it is a beautiful story. It's light and very much heart-warming. There were a dozen or more times when it made me smile (like a fool in front of the laptop), laugh, and feel real good. The Cat Kingdom concept is really nice and the entertainers are really funny! Plus, the throw-out-of-the-window thing is so hilarious!

For favorite characters... I liked them all! Then again, I think the Baron is a little arrogant but he's so cool! I think, like Haru, I may have a crush on him. Nyaa~ I want my own Baron now! Muta is also cool (and fat)! The jokes are usually directed towards him (such as his always being bait). Another cat that I liked is Natoru. Nyaa~ He's really cute. Haru is also an awesome heroine. I like her character very much. :)

For favorite scenes... I really liked the one where Prince Lune (Andrew Bevis) said to Yuki (Judy Greer): "Yuki, would you accept these fish crackers as a symbol of my love for as long as we have nine lives?" or something like that. Nyaa~ That was incredibly sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet~

So yeah, obviously, I like The Cat Returns a lot. An hour and fifteen minutes spent watching this isn't time wasted, I'm telling you. It's really entertaining and just about fun with a whole lot of lessons in it!

Movie Review - Laputa: Castle in the Sky

Rating: 6/10

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is about, well, Laputa the castle in the sky. Err... It follows the story of Sheeta (Anna Paquin), a princess in Laputa whose ancestors came down to live on Earth. The film starts off with her as a prisoner of Muska (Mark Hamill), some bespectacled guy from the intelligence agency (I think...). A group of pirates, led by Dola (Cloris Leachman), attack the airship. Their main objective is to steal the etherium necklace which Sheeta owns. While the army is busy with the intruders, Sheeta knocks Muska unconcious and climbs out of the window. The pirates try to grab her but she falls down. Instead of plummeting to Earth, though, Sheeta floats down slowly with the power of her necklace. A young boy named Pazu (James van Der Beek) "catches" her and takes care of her. The next day, both the pirates and the army are back to capture Sheeta. The two of them try to escape but they are eventually caught by Muska. He lets Pazu go because Sheeta agreed to help him find the legendary Laputa. Pazu goes back to his home, dejected, and finds Dola and her gang there. They tie him up but, as they were leaving, Pazu urges Dola to take him. She does and they go to the army's base to take Sheeta back. When they reunite, Sheeta tells them that she would like to see Laputa for herself. Dola agrees, under the pretence that she's doing it for the treasure...

(Err... So that's a pretty long summary but it kind of composed the first hour of the film. I guess I was in the mood to write a long one.)

Okay, so it's directed by Hayao Miyazaki and, as usual, distributed by Studio Ghibli. I like Miyazaki's films but I feel that this one is just too cliche. It's not bad; it's just that things are getting a wee bit too tiring to see the same things over and over again. (I liked the look of Laputa, though.) For one, there's the stereotype of the bad guy: wears glasses and a suit, tall, thin, mysterious AND part of a secretive government agency. The pirate friendship thing was pretty much predictable. I personally thought Sheeta and Pazu were too young to be real close like that. :P

So yeah. Laputa is okay but it's kind of old-fashioned. It's not exactly my thing, but in some instances it is. That's pretty much weird but I think Laputa hangs precariously over the edge of boredom.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Movie Review - Juno

Rating: 9/10

Juno is the story of a sixteen year old girl, Juno MacGaff, who gets pregnant by her bestfriend, Paulie Bleeker. At first, she wanted to abort the baby but she couldn't go through with it, so she decides to give it up for adoption instead.

Basically, the film is about what a teenager goes through with pregnancy, love, friends and school. Don't be fooled, though. It's not quite your average "chick flick" or whatever you call it. Juno is so much more than that. It's real hard to put it into words but it's a great, great movie. Check out the cool soundtrack, too. :)

I think Ellen Page did a great job. Jennifer Garner is so pretty. -sigh-

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray book trailer


Here's the cast:

Moira Dennis --- Gemma
Devon Jordan --- Pippa
Kasia Cylc --- Felicity
Joanna Wilson --- Ann
Manish Dayal --- Kartik
Diane Love --- Eugenia Spence
Piper Kenny --- Poppy Warrior
Sarah Carl --- Wilhemina
Meg McQuillan --- Circe
Jessica Carlson --- Bessie
Alyse Binder --- Mae
Catherine Melillo --- Wendy
Lucy Rayner --- Voiceover

Friday, July 2, 2010

Some sorta poem...

Last embrace.
Kiss on the cheek,
Tear on the other.

Pink carnations.
Promises of tomorrow,
Fragile and unsure,
I still hold on.

I sit by the window,
Wind blowing.
Smoke on the horizon.

A push on the front,
Desperate attempts,
"Fly the flag!"

A package arrives.
High expectation.
Anxiety. Ecstasy.
I receive it.

A box of nasturtiums,
And cattails also,
But dead leaves follow.
I weep.

Dark crimson roses
Fill the garden.
"I'll never forget you."

- - - - - - - - - - -


Movie Review - Because of Winn-Dixie

Rating: 8/10

Based on the novel by Kate diCamillo of the same name, Because of Winn-Dixie is the story of the friendship between a young girl and a dog. India Opal is the new kid in the block. She and her preacher dad just moved from Watley to Naomi, a small rural town. Opal can't make friends easily but this all changes when she meets Winn-Dixie, a dog she "adopted" after she saw it in the Winn-Dixie grocery store.

I didn't like the book much (in comparison with The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane) nor did I like the movie... At first. (It's not only because it stars  the young AnnaSophia Robb...) The first thirty to forty minutes of the film was kind of boring and the acting was a little lacking, I guess. But as the movie progressed, Robb's acting improved greatly and so did everyone else's. That must look really weird but that was it for me. :)