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Pages of madness and confusion: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski August 31, 2009

Posted by kiddoinspace in books, review.
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house

For the first book review on this blog I picked House of Leaves, a book like no other I’ve read (or will read). It’s very original and complex, so I’m not going to start talking about the full meaning of the book, because believe me, that could take more than one blog entry.

Example of a page from the book. It gets better.

Example of a page from the book. It gets better.

I heard a lot of things about House of Leaves that made me want to read it. The one that seemed to catch the attetnion of everyone was the originalty of the writing. Here we are presented with a book withing a book containing a story within a story. First of all we have the story of Johny who discovers a manuscript called The Navidson Record, written by a blind old man called Zampanó. The manuscript is the retelling and analysis of the movie of the same name us the story of William Navidson and his family as they buy a new house, which is much bigger in the inside thatn the outside.

At the same time as we read this main story, Johny tells us his story via footnotes he adds (Zampanó had already wrote some footnotes too), some of them pages long.

And this is how the story goes. As we read the events on The Navidson Record we see how all this affects Johny and the book itself. Many of us have heard the phrase “When life imitates art”, but what happens when art imitates it’s content? House of Leaves happens.

I told you it got better.

I told you it got better.

In the main story (the Navidson Record) a group of people lead by Navidson enter a large, dark corridor that suddenly appeared in the house, here they found a huge labyrinth of corridors and doors. As they go on and on, making various trips, the house begins to chenge, each time they are faced with something different.

As the house and the events change so does the text, in moments of tension the pages are full of text, and when the action gets faster, the pages are filled with few words, making us read faster too. There are times that a full rotation of the book is needed, this actions immerse us into the story, as if us too were part of it. When we read how the film talked about in the book has started a whole revolution of articles and discussion about it’s meaning, we wonder if the house‘s influence is so big that it was capable of reach us. That’s what this whole arrengement makes, it changes us into another character of the book.

Reading House of Leaves is a great experience, the whole action of rotating the book or following the footnotes, even going back a fe pages, it’s a lot of fun and a whole different reading experience. Danielewski shows us how big his imagination and hunger for experimenting are, and when you stop for a while and think how much effort he must have put to write this book, it helps you apprecite it better.

The words that end the review: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski is one of the best and most original books I’ve read. He managed to create a whole new experience in literature.

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The new shape of evil: Halloween August 31, 2009

Posted by kiddoinspace in horror, movies, review.
2 comments

halloween_poster

With the recent release of the new Halloween movie and the fact that I’ve never seen a Rob Zombie’s film, I decided to go out and rent this movie, although some people warned me that this was a horrible, horrible thing to do. As you can guess, I did it anyways.

Before seeing this movie I totally erased Carpenter’s movie from my mind. This was to avoid comparisons since this is a remake, we are seeing a different take over the original, and many people compare both, but I didn’t came here to see to original.

I'm sure they are brothers or something.

I'm sure they are brothers or something.

From the beginning we can see that Zombie decided to take this movie from a whole different angle. The film is now centered in Michael and how he became the crazy killer he is now. This may be the strongest part of the film, and I really liked how things turned, here we have a more human Michael, with motives for his killings, he’s not just a blank face anymore, he became something else. We can relate at some point to what the young Michael went through and understand him.

To me this is a great idea from Zombie, it gives the movie a nice twist. I think he went in the right path when recreating the character, but in  the way he missed some really important things that could have improved this film a lot more.

First of all, this movie lacks the most important elements of a horror movie. Suspense and good scares are gone, Zombie just puts some cheap jump scares here and there, he focused to much in telling the story of his villian that he forgot he was making a horror movie. Yes, there’s a lot of blood and killings (those scenes are quite brutal) but it really isn’t enough. At times, specially when Michael finally reaches Laurie, the movie falls flat and becomes boring.

The other big issue I had with the movie was the pacing. After we see all of Michael’s story and he escapes the asylum there are continous cuts. We see Dr. Loomis doing something then we cut to Laurie, then to Michael, then to Loomis again and so on and on. This cuts ruin the pacing, leaving the movie without space for the building of suspense.

Rob Zombie had a great idea in his hands, it looks like he is a capable director but his attention was caught up in other things. I really hope that H2 is an improvement over this.

The words that end the review: Halloween is wasted potential, a great take on Michael’s story was ruined by a poor execution.

The numerical rating system: 6/10

Songs from a bloody future: Repo! The Genetic Opera August 30, 2009

Posted by kiddoinspace in movies, review.
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 repocartel_grande

 

Before starting this review I must confess you something, I’m a sucker for this kind of movie.

Last night I decided to rewatch this movie, for a long time I’ve wanted to watch it since the whole concept of Repo! and the way it looked was very appealing to me, my only doubts about it was the musical side of it since musicals aren’t my favorite genre.

The story of Repo! The Genetic Opera goes something like this: In a not so distant future the world is plagued by a sudden wave of organ failures, everyone is in danger an a lot of people is dying. Then GeneCo is created, for a fair price they will replace your organs but if you don’t pay the Repo man will come back for it.

As you can see the concept is quite original, and is in this plot where the stories of all our charcters develop. We have the young sick child Shilo who just wants to see the world, her father Nathan who has a double life as a doctor and a Repo Man, Rotti Largo the founder of GeneCo who needs a new heir and Blind Mag GeneCo’s official spokewomen. These are our main characters, all their stories will cross and a good amount of drama (and gore) ensues.

The backstory for them is presented to us in a different way, here we see a series of “comics” telling us what happened 17 years ago. I felt this method a s a cheap way for presenting part of the story, but since the whole movie is sung (hence why it is an opera, don’t expect normal dialougue) that must have been the best way for us to know about the past events.

Luigi (left) and Pavi (right) Largo. Cool characters.

Luigi (left) and Pavi (right) Largo. Cool characters, one is obsessed with female faces the other one is crazy.

For being a movie made entirely out of songs and with no dialogue, the writters did quite a decent job creating and developing characters, there are some interesting people in here, specially in the Largo family (see picture), and the character of the Repo man along with his whole moral struggle is great, one of the film higlights.  The major problem here is that sometimes, when we go from one scene to another the continuity is lost, both scenes feel totally disconnected, and this happens quite often.

Through the 97 minutes of Repo! we are presented with a beautiful looking movie, the sets, costumes and photography look really good, setting the whole dark/gothic mood perfectly, it’s a pleasure to see. All this imagery is accompained by a nice rock soundtrack, songs like Zydrate Anatomy, Chase the Morning (with great Sarah Brightman vocals), Let the mosnter rice, and others provide a great soundtrack.

The words that end the review: Repo! The Genetic Opera is worth seeing, great visual with good music and a decent story. It suffers in the direction department, but the fact that not even Paris Hilton brings this movie down is something good.

The numerical rating system: 8/10

The Beginning of it all August 29, 2009

Posted by kiddoinspace in Uncategorized.
2 comments

So here I am, the first post of my first blog ever.  I started this blog as to review films, but movies won’t be the only things to be included. Along the way I’ll post some other things I like to keep some variety.

I hope you enjoy the ride.