Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island


Journey 2: The Mysterious Island by Georgia
  Yep, I saw Journey 2--and not just because Josh Hutcherson was in it! Okay, a little--but mostly because I saw Journey 1 and thought it was really good. The second one was almost as good as the first one, the only flaws being that Vanessa Hudgens' tank top took a little roller coaster ride throughout the movie (by roller coaster ride, I mean that it just got lower and higher on her chest and hips--which were exposed A LOT. Not the whole chest, FYI.) 
  So here's the story--Sean is back and he broke into a satellite facility to get a message about the Mysterious Island from his grandfather. Magically, his step-father was in the navy and can read code. They figure out the coordinates--with several references to three island books--and go to an island near there. On this island, they get a ride from Gabato--a foolish and slightly offensive (not the actual character, but how he was portrayed) Hispanic man and his "beautiful" daughter, Kailani (Hudgens.) Of course, there's a dramatic minute scene where Kailani steps into view and Sean (Hutcherson) gawks dramatically--that was another small flaw and cliché. Anyway, Gabato has a run-down helicopter that they get on and they go off to the island! What happens next? Go see the movie!!

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island by Amy
  Any movie with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has got to be entertaining, right?  Sort of.  The highlight of the film for me was seeing him do the "Pec-Pop of Love," which you can see for free in the movie trailers.  Just FYI.  My 5 year old can do a pretty decent imitation.  Ditto FYI.

Let's be serious about why Georgia wanted to see this movie.  She bugged me, in fact, until I took her.  It wasn't The Rock.  It was Josh Hutcherson.  She admitted as much in her review.  And he is a cutie.  He comes across as intelligent and rebellious and beefcakey all at the same time.  Unlike some actors formerly known as werewolves, who missed the intelligent part. 

My main beef with the film is the ridiculous costuming of the lone female character-whose primary function is to hang around looking annoyed.  Georgia mentions this above so I won't belabor the skimpiness of Vanessa Hudgens's outfit.  But I will mention that the clearly male camera crew, director, and film editors must have felt that Vanessa had a really nice backside because there is a full-on shot of it as she is extracting herself from a cave.  And it's not a glancing shot--they hold the shot long enough for you to really try and appreciate her butt.  Why they felt this was an interesting camera angle for the audience is one of the great unsolved film mysteries destined never to be solved.  We wouldn't want to actually look at her face as she's trying to heave ho out of the cave, right?  

Wait for the DVD on this one, folks.  Trust me.  Unless you have a teenage daughter.  Then let her go by herself and you can see The Artist. 

My Name is Mina by David Almond

My Name is Mina by David Almond (Reviewed by Georgia)
  I know I've been ranting a lot lately, so here's a happy, non-critical--really, no criticism, I swear--review of My Name is Mina. Mina is a ten or eleven year old girl who has a wonderful view of the world--she loves birds and she's home schooled, so she has lots of free time to admire the sky (and birds.) She loves to write silly little poems and she loves word play. If you had a daughter, you would want her to be like Mina. Though Almond implies that Mina might have a learning disability, I interpreted she just didn't like school. Her journal--written in "her" handwriting"--is full of "extraordinary activities" where she suggests simply looking at the night sky a certain way or writing one word one page. There is a story, too, not just activities, so don't worry. My Name is Mina is actually a prequel to Skellig, which was published a long time ago. I tried to read Skellig, but it was depressing and creepy. Just read My Name is Mina. It's really good.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Twilight vs. Hunger Games

The Twilight Saga vs. The Hunger Games
  Oh, yes. It seems ever blog with a teenager (and some blogs without) are blogging about how people are "comparing the Hunger Games to Twilight" and how it is "unacceptable." Okay, those aren't actual quotes from real blogs, but that's what they're saying. And as a teenager who has a book blog, I feel it my duty to write about this incredible controversial topic. Here we go.
Note: To all Twilight or Hunger Games haters or lovers, this is an unbiased account of The Hunger Games vs. Twilight. It may contain *spoiler alerts.* Enjoy.
  And so we begin...I will first state the differences of these two series. It's pretty easy: Bella doesn't do anything until the end of the last book; Katniss kicks butt until  the end of the last book (she's completely crazy by then.) Peeta is a very likable baker boy who doesn't have a thirst for Katniss's blood; Edward is really creepy and a creeper, though he seems to have a sensitive side once he falls in love with her (after he dumps her in the woods, of course.) Jacob is just a hot werewolf who comforts Bella; Gale is just a hot rebel best friend who comforts Katniss. (Okay, that one was kind of similar.)
  Onto the similarities (and I assure you, there are many.) First similarity: the writing. No need to gasp, I will explain. This writing is the level of what a fourteen-year-old could write (no offense to writing fourteen-year-olds, of course. Rock on! Or--write on!) Anyway, it sounds like basic writing because Stephanie Meyer states Bella's every thought and movement, while Suzanne Collins is just lazy. Examples:
  I walk into the cafeteria. I get lunch. Yum, yum: mac-and-cheese! I sit next to Edward. He looks super hot today. So, so, hot. He flashes me my favorite smile of his and I almost sigh. God, what a hot vampire. Alice sits down. She looks pretty today. She wears a black tank top and jeans.
  "Hey Bella," she says. I reply, "hi Alice." She smiles. "I knew you'd  say that." Vampires rock!
  Peeta hands me some flowers and I look at them confusedly.
  "What are these for?" I ask, rather confused. Peeta can be extremely odd sometimes.
  "They're for you, " he says.  Why would Peeta give me flowers?? We're in the hunger games! I'm going to have to kill him! Then I remember: the fake romance we've created must go on.
  "Thank you!" I say, and pretend to be super excited. He smiles, and it looks so convincing! Peeta is such a good actor. I could never be that good. I hate my life. 
  You can probably guess which example was for which book. (Hint: the one in bold was told from the point of view from Katniss Everdeen.) Meyers lacks basic sentence structure and describes everything in way too much detail. In my example, I was trying too hard to point out the fact that I'M SITTING AT A LUNCH TABLE WITH EDWARD AND ALICE CULLEN! It kind of screams what I'm trying to point out. Collins, however, changes Katniss's tone too much during the book. Sometimes she sounds extremely depressed, sometimes she sounds like she's on drugs, sometimes she even sounds English! (As you saw in my example.) In my example, she goes from very oblivious to very English to oblivious again to adoring to depressed. Also, I used confused twice in one paragraph. That is BASIC LAZINESS! No good author uses the same word in a paragraph, much less a chapter! Especially an adjective or adverb, like confused and confusedly. The second huge similarity with these two series: by the end of the book, you end up disliking (or hating) the heroine. (If Bella Swan can even be called a heroine, that is.) I didn't like Bella by the end of the series because she DIDN'T do anything (until the end!) She's like: I'm so happy. I'm a teenage vampire, I'm a eternally beautiful, and I have an immortal daughter who I birthed at age eighteen! Nice message, Stephanie Meyers. I didn't like Katniss by the end because she tried to commit suicide at least three times and was totally okay with being ditched by Gale. Collins actually had the opposite problem with her ending then Meyers; Breaking Dawn's ending was much too happy and Mockingjay's ending was much too sad. *Major spoiler alert* DID PRIM REALLY HAVE TO DIE? DID SHE, Suzanne Collins?! No! DID NO ONE REALLY HAVE TO DIE IN YOUR BOOK, STEPHANIE MEYERS? I honestly think one of the vampire should've somehow died. A death (or deaths) bring a sense of ending to series. But no, Twilight had to have a fairytale ending where no one died! And the Hunger Games had to have an ending where everyone died! The last reason The Hunger Games trilogy and the Twilight "saga" are similar is because of a huge mistake that both authors made: they tried to make a broken character, and seriously failed at it. Definition of a broken character: a character who is sad and/or lonely and/or depressed because something horrible happened to them. i.e: Gaia Stone is a broken character because she's watched her love interest be beaten, her mother die in childbirth, and because her little sister was taken away from her. Congratulations, Caragh O'Brien. With Stephanie Meyers, she tried to make Bella broken when Edward ditched her.Instead, she looked pitiful and sad by lying down in the woods and waiting for someone to rescue. (Just a note: there's a hilarious Bella vs. Katniss spoof on youtube-- With Katniss, Collins tries to make her look broken because in Mockingjay, Peeta goes crazy and her mom and Gale ditch her and her sister dies. Really happy ending, right? Anyways, she ends up looking crazy, bipolar, and suicidal rather than broken.
  In conclusion, The Hunger Games and the Twilight Saga both have HUGE flaws. I think you got that. But they still are two great stories, so read them! Most people aren't as critical as me, so you'll get so enthralled in the story that you won't notice the bad writing!
  Also: I think that if JK Rowling helped out Meyers and Collins with their writing and Meyers helped Collins with her final ending and Collins helped Meyers with her final ending, the books would be a lot better. Over and out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie (reviewed by Georgia)
  If you've ever heard of Matched, by Ally Condie, you probably thought what I was thinking: *sigh* another dystopian book?? Yes, well, I read it anyway and it was super super good. It had more romance in the first book than in The Hunger Games, and Cassia (the main character) wasn't totally oblivious to Ky and Xander's love. Ky and Xander being the two love interests, of course. Xander: the cute best friend who the government has "Matched" her with. Ky: the cute love interest who could have been Cassia's Match. Cassia: at first she loves the Society (her government) but she soon discovers dark things about them from Ky, and realizes what she's been oblivious to. After Ky gets taken away from her borough, she decides to fight the government.  I think that it's a brilliant first book, and I can't wait to read Crossed and whatever book comes next!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Friday Book Award

The Friday Book Award (FBA) By Georgia
   Every Friday I will try to present one FBA, though I cannot guarantee I'll do it every Friday. Today the FBA is Top Five Worst Heroines of the 2000's. Enjoy! Note: I've decided to add brief explanations
1. Bella Swan (from Twilight)-Yes, her. First of all, choose between the freakin' werewolf and vampire! Or just kill them both! Jeez. Second of all, she honestly doesn't do anything but kiss Edward and Jacob until the last book. (And that's way in the last book.)
2. Katniss Everdeen (from the Hunger Games)- I know she was on the Top Five Best Heroines, but she's also naïve and suicidal in by Mockingjay. (Not to mention Suzanne Collin's horrific and lazy writing.)
3.Tiger (from the unpopular book, Fish)-Where to start? She's a naïve little ten or eleven or nine year old (is it not sad that I don't even know how old she is) who wants to save this fish as she, her parents, and "The Guide" go on a long journey. Pathetic writing, from start to finish.
4. Jenna Fox (from the Adoration of Jenna Fox)- Okay, so I was confused throughout the whole book. Jenna has amnesia from this accident that no one talks about, so in the first half off the book you know nothing about her. Then she figures it out and cries when she finds out her pretty little legs and blond hair and everything but 10% of her brain are *spoiler alert* fake. She had the perfect life...and then she almost died in a car crash along with her two besties. (Cough, cough, cliché.) Sorry Ms. Pearson, but try third person next time.
5. Honor (from The Other Side of the Island)-I loove the government so, so much! They could never do anything wrong! La la la...She honestly is worshipping the government until the last chapter. Wake up, all ready!! 
Sorry about the longness of this entry. I kinda went on a rant. I feel so bad about being so bitter. Oh well. I recommend this website if you agree with me:
Next week: Top Five Best Heroes!!!

Georgia's Review on The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus is a wonderful young adult fantasy romance about two magicians, set in the late 1800's and early 1900's. It follows the life of Celia and Marco, two young magicians entered in a dangerous magic game.
Le Cirque des Rêves is where this game plays out, though Celia and Marco are not aware they are each others competition. It is a dark, magical, modern fairytale and I sincerely recommend it to anyone who enjoys tales of magic who's over twelve years old, since it is dark and romantic. It's a fabulous story!

Georgia's Review on The Adoration of Jenna Fox/The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a dystopian young adult novel about a girl named Jenna who can't remember what happened to her; all she knows is that she was in an accident that her parents won't talk about. She tries to figure out her past as she slowly regains memory and IMHO, I think the second book is better. But if you want to read the books, you should read the first book.
*spoiler alert* The Fox Inheritance is told by Locke, Jenna's old best friend, as he and Kara, Jenna's other old best friend. They escape a horrible doctor to find Jenna and that's where their journey begins. It's filled with twists and surprises, and is MUCH better than the first book.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Big Miracle

Big Miracle By Georgia
  Yesterday I saw Big Miracle, and it was pretty good! If it wasn't a true story, I'd probably give it 2 stars. Since it is a true story: 4 STARS!! I have to say, I'm not the biggest fan of Drew Barrymore (I mean, what's with the half brown/half blond hair??) but she makes a very good hippie-fighting-for-the-greater-good.
  So the basic storyline is: reporter guy in some tiny town in Alaska is losing interesting news, until he finds out about the whales. The story gets around and his ex-girlfriend, hippie-fighting-for-the-greater-good (AKA Barrymore) wants to help. He also has a kinda creepy crush on this NBC reporter girl who ends up showing up later. Business is booming in this Alaskan small town, but meanwhile the reporter and his ex-girlfriend are trying hard to find someone to help them. When one attempt fails, they call  in the Reds (the Soviets) to save the day. With a sad but realistic twist near the end, this is the perfect animal-lover, hippie, feel better, or family movie. Who knows? Maybe more than one of the circumstances apply to you.