Friday, November 21, 2014

The Book Thief (2013)

the book thiefDIRECTOR: Brian Percival; WRITERS: Markus Zusak (based on the novel by), Michael Petroni (screenplay); CAST: Sophie NĂ©lisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson…

SUMMARY (from IMDB): While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.


I’m always wary of films based on books, but The Book Thief was a good one. Of course they changed a few things, but only small details, which didn’t make a difference on the story as a whole.

Casting department did a great job with Liesl – she was just as I had imagined her. The other characters were a little different from what I had had in mind, but that didn’t bother me either. And the actors did their jobs splendidly.

The story itself overwhelmed me once more with so much emotion and perspective, as it included all the important bits from the book, with both the dialogues and the narration largely unchanged.

All in all, The Book Thief is a superb adaptation of the same-titled book, and I liked it very much. 4 stars

RECOMMENDATION: Despite the fact that the film is very much faithful to the book, I would still recommend you to read the book first. Above all, read the book. In that way, you will take away more than from just watching the film.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor TDRDIRECTOR: Alan Taylor; CAST: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston…

SUMMARY (adapted from IMDB): When Jane Foster gets cursed with a powerful object, Thor must protect it before an army and it's ruthless leader try to get their hands on it to take over the remains of Earth.


How does one review a spectacle like Thor: The Dark World anyway?

Someone on Tumblr said they could have watched the entire film only of Agardian landscape and I can’t help but agree. What an amazing job the CGI department has done, creating such an astonishing scenery, not to mention other special effects.

Then, of course, there are our favourite characters, humans and Asgardians, involved in a yet another race to save the Earth and Asgard from destruction, each contributing what they can, and, naturally (it is a film, after all), through their joined forces defeating the enemy.

Loki, who has been facing the consequences of his past actions, is responsible for some twists and turns, and I’m still in awe of the final one. But that’s Loki, always with mischief up his sleeve, and one rarely sees it coming.

All in all, Thor: The Dark World is an suspenseful, entertaining and visually stunning film, which tackles a few serious topics along the way. And not a minute of it is boring.

4 stars

RECOMMENDATION: Does it really need a recommendation? It’s Marvel. Thor. Loki. Asgard. Badass ladies. Pretty things. Emotions and such. And anyway, everyone has seen it already.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Prince of Darkness (Plantagenet Saga #4) by Jean Plaidy

Prince of DarknessSUMMARY (from Goodreads): The untimely death of Richard the Lionheart left his nephew Arthur and his younger brother John in contest for the throne of England. Reluctantly the barons chose John, and so began years of rule by a ruthless and greedy tyrant. Yet despite his reputation, John, still manages to seduce the young and beautiful Isabella of Angeloume. But in taking her as his bride he makes an enemy for life. And in the tempestuous years that follow many men come to believe that the House of Anjou was tainted by the Devil's blood, the loathsome monarch was himself Evil Incarnate, the very Prince of Darkness...


I assume everyone has in one way or another heard about King John of England, whose life this book focuses on. His story is what one would expect: full of debauchery, murder, and tyranny… So, one can’t actually like him, I think, though he is an intriguing character.

However, I liked Isabella. Though she is self-centred and likes to enjoy things life has to offer, she doesn’t want people to suffer (that is, if their comfort doesn’t cause her discomfort) and, even more, she empathises with their suffering. She is clever and thinks for herself and even manages to trick John into doing things her way a few times.

The writing is as usually unsophisticated and at times a bit dry, simply recounting historical events, especially when dealing with with the eternal struggles between the State and the Church and England and France.

Nevertheless, The Prince of Darkness, a story of one of the most notorious kings of England, gives us a glimpse into the mentality behind his atrocious behaviour and at the larger context of his era and is as such an interesting read.

3 stars

RECOMMENDATION: The Prince of Darkness is an easy and fast read, fictionalised just enough as to not be tedious, but still largely true to historical facts, and I would definitely recommend it to history lovers.