May 15, 2008

Just Tidbits

I have been getting through several books and movies. For expediency's sake, I am putting these into one entry.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Finally got through this treasure since my library bought it on audiobook. The Book Thief was a Printz Honor award winner and tells the story of a young girl growing up in Nazi Germany. This has been done before, of course, but what gives this book its unique flavor is that it is narrated by Death. Death is fascinated by Liesel, this book thief, and claims he gets distracted by her. After blowing the end of the story for everyone, Death goes back to the beginning and tells Liesel's tale. Death is a great character here, and exhibits the perfect combination of sly humor, a solemn tone, and a miraculous awe at the humans he watches from afar until the fateful moment. Full of heartbreaking characters and miraculous moments, this book will leave you hungry for MORE ZUSAK.

Iron Man
Must . . . go . . . see . . . Iron Man. I'm not sure what makes Iron Man so good. Could it be Robert Downey's performance? He is amiable enough. Could it be all the cool techie gadgets? Yes, they are neat. Could it be that it involves the Middle East, and Americans can't seem to get enough of that right now? Yes, it has cultural relevancy. Could it be that the spring line of movies has sucked so bad that it doesn't take much to impress me at this point? Yes, that's quite on the money.

For me, I love any movie where a power hungry person changes their tune and makes a mental shift. Downey gives a solid performance as someone who has seen the light of day and wants to change his ways. It was fairly clean, too.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
This movie has certainly pushed some buttons. Went to see it at the theaters and was fairly sure I was going to be joined by people that already agreed with Ben Stein's initial premise like myself. I was right about that. The audience was clapping and audibly showing their approval. But, I can't truly call this a documentary. If it was a documentary, Stein would have let the facts speak for themselves more than he did. He took the facts and then tried to hammer the nail into the coffin. The result was that he ended up looking like he was trying to hard to make his point. A true documentary is when the director is an objective viewer. Stein is hardly objective. He has his beliefs and only speaks the things that support his side.

Don't get me wrong, I think Stein has some good things to say but I don't think this movie is going to sway anyone's mind. The people that already agreed will agree. The people that disagree will continue to disagree. And I really wish he had not brought up the Holocaust. I think this just served to alienate a whole portion of the audience.

More to Come!

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