Category Archives: Movies/Books

A Classic Favorite: Puss in Boots

Last weekend while my husband and I were at the movies, we were fortunate enough to catch a preview for the new Puss in Boots movie that is coming out this fall.  I’ll admit it – I squealed. I clapped.  I was thoroughly delighted, just like when the character was first introduced into the Shrek films.  This may or may not have been embarrassing for my husband, but what you need to know, and what he already is well aware of, to understand my reaction is quite simple:

  1. I love cats.
  2. As a young girl, loving both cats and books equally, Puss in Boots was one of my favorite fairy tales.
  3. I love cats.  And books.

Given all of the above, how can I not be unabashedly enthusiastic about this upcoming release?  My one hope is that people seek out the tale and gain an appreciation for the tale that existed long before Antonio Banderas gave his voice over to an adorable animated, orange cat.  What is best about this cat, and perhaps I’m taking this all a little too far, is that the cat (Puss) possesses and displays great loyalty to his human companion.  Little Puss, the booted cat, uses his feline cunning to acquire all of the things that a young lad in 17th century France could ever want – wealth, respect, and love.

I’m positive that I don’t have to share too many details about the film (but please enjoy the trailer below!), but here are the details on the book, which is definitely worth checking out, no matter what your age and even if you’re not nearly as fond of cats as I am.

Title:  Puss in Boots
Author:  Charles Perrault
Amazon.com link to my favorite version:  http://www.amazon.com/Puss-Boots-Caldecott-Honor-Book/dp/0374361606 

Official Dreamworks Trailer (prepare for adorable OVERLOAD):

Photo Source:  Édition Curmer (1843) – Le Chat botté, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Édition_Curmer_(1843)_-_Le_Chat_botté_-_1.png 

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Filed under Books, Cats, Children's Books, Favorites, Movies/Books

The Millennium Series

Prior to diving into Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, I was unwaveringly opposed to even attempting to read a series.  I’ve always been under the impression that to keep myself reading, I needed to vary genre, author, and overall mood from book to book.  I can’t allow myself to get bored or tired with what I’m reading or else I will lose my steam, put books down for a breather, and it might be months before I indulge myself in my self-proclaimed favorite hobby once more.

At some point last spring, however, my friend recommended the Larsson novels to me.  There was the additional buzz of the best seller lists and book clubs, so I decided to give it a try.  Worst case scenario, I didn’t like it, right?  Well, I was immediately sucked in.  Larsson’s writing style keeps you engaged; he manages to keep things mysterious without wandering down the path of cheesiness.  I also felt like he was able to portray a female character without making me feel alienated or creeped out (as I feel every single time I attempt a Nicholas Sparks novel).  Lisbeth Salander instantly became one of my all-time favorite fictional characters.

Needless to say, I tore through all three books in rapid succession.  If I took a break in between any of them, it was very brief and not filled in with any other novel to serve as a buffer.  Once all three novels were completed, I watched the films, thoroughly enjoying how true to the novels they were.  Now, I’m equally as excited to see the American versions.  I am counting down the days until the December release, fully anticipating to fall in love with the “feel bad movie of the Christmas season”.

Thanks to the fact that I gave this series a try, I have subsequently found myself enjoying OTHER series and not growing tired or bored of characters and similar writing styles.  In a way, it’s almost comforting to know that you don’t ONLY have these 250-something pages with character(s) that you’re growing fond of.

It might also be important to note here (though maybe not really) – I love other David Fincher films, Trent Reznor, and have a weak spot for Daniel Craig that spawned from his portrayal of Ted Hughes in Sylvia.

And now, the David Fincher version of the movie trailer, just to get you pumped:

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Filed under Books, Favorites, Movies/Books, Series, Stieg Larsson

The Reader – The Movie

It’s not news that many books are eventually made into films or television shows.  It seems to be a rarity, however, for a viewer who has read the book to also enjoy the movie.  At least as much as they enjoyed the book, if they enjoyed the book.  I rarely have this issue myself and I seem to just enjoy a distraction, but some films just really excel at being amazing pieces of art in and of themselves, only adding another layer of awesome to the novel.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, pretty much any film starring Kate Winslet that is based off a novel automatically tends to mean that I’ll love the book.  What I failed to mention, and maybe I don’t even have to, is that I automatically love the film, as well.  What can I say – I’m a Kate Winslet fan.  One example of a film (and novel) that I loved is The Reader.

I watched the film first and discovered, later on, that there was a book. I watched the film when I was home alone one night and it reduced me to tears.  It probably shouldn’t have, given that one of the characters is an ex-Nazi (and that is the character that you tend to feel sorry for), but, alas, it did.  And instead of my attempting to summarize the plot – since I’ve probably already given away too much detail for anything to be a surprise if you want to read it – view the below trailer from YouTube:

 

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Filed under Favorites, Kate Winslet, Movies/Books

Current Read: Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain

Book Cover - Mildred Pierce

I plucked Mildred Pierce off of the shelf at Borders recently for one reason and one reason only.  Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit this, but I am not.  And I only continue to choose books based off this reasoning (which I will disclose momentarily), because it repeatedly proves true.  What reason is this?  Kate Winslet is on the cover.

In the past it usually happened that I’d watch a film starring Kate Winslet , love the movie, discover that there was a novel the film was adapted from, go and find the book…. totally love the book.  Some examples?  Sense and Sensibility, Little Children, Jude the Obscure…. to name three.  I believe that she just possesses a knack for choosing excellent projects and excellent characters.  And it all typically aligns, quite perfectly, to my personal tastes.  So, when I was recently wandering aimlessly throughout the bookstore, desperately searching for my next read, this seemed like a safe option for me to go with.

So, did my decision to choose a book solely based off the actress on the cover pay off this time?  It certainly did.

The abstract on the back of the novel summarizes the story like this:

Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness.  She used those attributes to survive a divorce and poverty and to claw her way out of the lower middle class.  But Mildred also had two weaknesses:  a yen for shiftless men and an unreasoning devotion to a monstrous daughter.  Out of these elements, James M. Cain created a novel of acute social observation and devastating emotional violence, with a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable.

The above perfectly captures the heart of this book, perhaps better than any other synopsis that I’ve ever read.  Mildred is a character that a reader can easily both love and hate, often all within the expanse of a single sentence.  One’s heart simultaneously melts with pity, swells with excitement at her triumphs, and fights to hold back the urge to sprout arms and give her a good shake.  But the reason that the character of Mildred so easily evokes all of these emotions is because she successfully represents a smattering of traits that anyone can easily find in themselves.  And they’re not all traits that one would necessarily be proud of admitting…

The character who elicits the most rightful rage, however, is the daughter, Veda.  A snob since the womb, she demands that others grovel and beg for her approval and even after you do that (and anything else that she either directly or indirectly demands of you), she’ll despise you for doing it.  Everyone has had a Veda in their life — even if the circumstances and annoyances were different — that one person that you just NEEDED to love and accept you.  You’d do anything to ensure their never-ending approval, including, possibly, degrading yourself and forcing ignorance upon yourself.

Conversely, you can let the irritation go and revel in Mildred’s accomplishments as she works diligently and takes all of the risks necessary to make her dreams come true.  The novel is both inspiring and a hard, cold dose of reality.

Overall, I would give this book three out of four stars (if I were to rate on a four star scale….) and look forward to, hopefully, seeing the HBO miniseries at some point in the near future.

You can purchase Mildred Pierce and/or learn more about the novel on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Mildred-Pierce-Movie-Vintage-Lizard/dp/0307946592/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1312852861&sr=8-2 

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Filed under Books, Kate Winslet, Movies/Books