3 Sep 2014

Reading & Seeing 20

original source - incidentally you can see more awesome fan art posters for Guardians of the Galaxy here. A lot of them are waaaay better than the official poster. 

Guardians of the Galaxy
A mismatched bunch of criminals (but who all have good sides too) are thrown together to stop the world ending, oh yeah and it's set in Space and stars Chris Pratt. Yup, this film easily plonked itself at the top of my favourite films of the year so far. Chris Pratt is perfect as Peter Quill and so watchable, the script is laugh-out-load funny and the soundtrack is spot-on - I wasn't bored for a second and could easily watch this again and again and again.

Last month I also saw Expendables III - packed full of all your action hero regulars, this was incredibly predictable but not as crap as I thought it would be. I actually laughed a fair bit (sometimes with it - it's clearly taking the piss out of itself with those one liners, sometimes at it); Rushmore - an oldie but such a goodie, can't believe I'd never seen it before. It centres around a school boy's crush/love for a teacher at his school and it's just perfectly told and framed - Wes Anderson, can he do no wrong?; and Easy A - I confess I remember seeing the posters and reading the premise when this originally got released and thought it was just another shitty american school "comedy". But I was wrong! It was funny and not shitty at all; I laughed out-loud and Emma Stone is ace.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I like Neil Gaiman but I did not enjoy this all that much. It was pretty unsettling (standard Gaiman) and showcased some really clever (albeit terrifying) ideas and concepts but, for me, it lacked depth. It scratched the surface of this strange world but that was it. It all came to an abrupt and unenlightenning end just as I was getting into it. I feel like in his other, longer books, he's got more room to explore the backgrounds of the worlds he creates - he weaves a history, creates a foundation for his story to play out on - The Ocean at the End of the Lane was just kinda flat. Also, while I'm ripping into this I'd also like to mention that cover is v.meh and a little safe considering the messed-up stuff that happens in the book.

Mitch brought this back after his most recent comic book shopping spree. It's the first in a new series about a couple who, despite being from opposite sides of an on-going intergalactic war, have fallen in love and given birth to baby - something that no-one thought would be possible between the two species. Both sides are after them and their child but luckily they're badass and have a zombie ghost child as their nanny. Sounds nuts but it's pretty cool.

We are all Completely Besides Ourselves
I really enjoyed this for a number of reasons: the writing style is right up my street, the subject matter is something I know nothing about so that was intriguing and lastly because you think you're reading one story and then a quarter of the way in you find out that you're reading something completely different. I don't want to say much more as it's better to stumble upon this "twist" (not sure that really describes it accurately) with as little knowledge as possible.

The Casual Vacancy
J K Rowling's forray in adult fiction (not that half the readership of Harry Potter isn't adult). On the whole I liked it. The characters, though almost entirely dislikable save one or two, are meaty and convincing; each with a role to play in driving the story forward. It kinda reminded me of those DK Cross Section books but instead of a building it's like a cross section through a small rural community. In some ways it also made me think of soaps partly because it's quite depressing but mostly because of the way the narrative seamlessly glides around the village bringing specific characters into the spotlight. The writing is clever and J K Rowling has some serious skillz when it comes to really getting into each of the characters' heads. There's a couple of amusing scenes but on the whole (especially the end) it's a pretty tragic read which I'd still recommend nonetheless.


  1. I really love Easy A for exactly the reasons you outline: it's genuinely funny and intelligent. And I also agree with your thoughts on The Ocean At... The rest of my book group loved it (and I love every single other thing Gaiman has written), but I found it poorly developed and I was either too freaked out or a bit bored. It felt to me like he wasn't quite sure if he was writing for children or for adults, and ended up with something that might not suit either.

    1. Yes! That's it exactly. When I first started ocean at the end of the lane I thought it was a children's book and you're right it didn't feel developed enough for adults. I normally gobble up Gaiman's stuff so that's why this was particularly disappointing.


Ta v.much :)

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