Category Archives: Book Based Movies

What movie are you looking forward to the most this summer?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Just a short post today on the Bookshelf Battle Blog. They all can’t be winners, sadly.

(Although let’s face it. Most of them are. I’m batting like 99.5% or whatever that would be in a batting average if I knew anything about baseball.)

Anyway, what movie are you most looking forward to this summer?

Capt America:Civil War has already come and gone. That was a big one for me. I’m also looking forward to Suicide Squad.

And for some strange reason, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the next ninja turtle film will be better than the last one.

Warcraft and Tarzan look good.

I don’t know. You tell me 3.5 readers.

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Fifty Shades of Blech

I try my best not to make fun of the work of others on this blog.  And let’s

50 Shades of Grey - 20 Percent of Off

50 Shades of Grey – 20 Percent of Off

face it, make fun of Fifty Shades of Grey all you want, but the author, publisher, and now movie studio behind it are raking in the dough.

I just can’t help but scratch my head though as I try to make sense out of why today’s modern, empowered woman would be into this thing.  But that’s a slippery slope I don’t want to get onto, lest I be accused of trying to tell women what to do.

Here’s the hypothetical Hollywood pitch meeting as it plays out in my head:

HOLLYWOOD SUIT 1 :  OK.  We’ve got this great movie idea.

This mousy woman goes to interview a man, but discovers he has a secret room where he tortures women!

HOLLYWOOD SUIT 2:  Oh my God!  Sounds terrifying!  So what, I guess we brand it as a horror flick and release it on Halloween?

SUIT 1:  What?  No!  Sorry, I forgot to mention the guy is handsome and rich.

SUIT 2:  Handsome and rich?!  Well, why didn’t you say so?  Sounds like a surefire Valentine’s Day blockbuster to me!!!

Admittedly, I’ve never seen the book nor read the film.  If you have, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the main theme basically, “If you’re handsome and rich, it’s ok to abuse women?”

Eh, what the hell do I know?  I’m just a humble book blogger.  Y’all have fun at the movie.  I’ll be at home lamenting the decline of Western civilization as we know it.

In conclusion, let me be clear.  I’m not telling women what they should or shouldn’t like.  I am saying that Susan B. Anthony is rolling in her grave.

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Unbroken – Movie Review (2014)

WARNING:  Spoilers ahead.

Life – it’s all a matter of perspective.

The next time I pour a bowl of cereal and feel a fit coming on when I realize there’s no more milk, I’ll take a deep breathe and remember the choice Louis Zamperini had – jump out of his life raft and into water infested with hungry sharks, or stay in and risk being shot by a Japanese aircraft doing a strafing run overhead.

When you think about a situation like that, it kind of makes the little, everyday nuisances that we allow to drive us crazy seem trivial, doesn’t it?

How about when Louis, after spending so much time drifting in a raft at sea, only to be thrown in a brutal POW camp where he’s tortured and beaten, suddenly gets an offer from the Japanese government – read an anti-American statement over the radio and you’ll be allowed to live out the rest of the war in nice accommodations, with all the food and luxuries you want.

Naturally, we all say, “No, I’d never take that deal.”  As a mere, humble book blogger, I’ll never find myself in such a situation, but I’d like to think I’d tell my captors where they could stick such a deal.  Do any of us really know how we’d respond to such an offer until we find ourselves in that position?  Heroically, Louis refuses the deal.

Overall, it is a movie about choices – forks in the road where Louis could have gone in one direction or the other.  In his youth, he was an angry little punk who was a menace to his town until his older brother convinced him to channel his energy into joining the track team.

He becomes an amazing runner, good enough to go all the way to the pre-World War II Olympics (which, ironically, were held in Germany),  leading to an eerie scene where American, German, and Japanese athletes are all standing around like friends – who knew at the time that would be the last time they’d be doing that for awhile.  He’d hoped to return to the next Olympic Games, which had been scheduled to be held in Tokyo of all places, but we all know how that turned out.

It’s hard to find a more class act than Louis.  His fellow POW’s are ordered to punch him in the face.  He’s more worried about telling them it is ok and to not feel bad about it than he is about, well, his face.

I could go on and on, but you get the drift.  The next time I’m late for work and ready to fling myself off a cliff because I can’t find my keys, I will think about brave Louis defying the Japanese POW camp Sgt. and lifting the beam over his head, and realize that I am a major wuss in comparison.

The movie is based on author Laura Hillenbrand’s non-fiction book of the same name.  You might remember her as the author of another non-fiction work turned movie, Seabiscuit.  

I’ve never read either book and unfortunately, I have a bad habit of never reading a book once they’ve made a movie about it.  If you’ve read either one, or just want to commiserate about how Louis makes us all look like pansies when compared to his saint-like bravery, feel free to do so in the comment section.

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Movie Review – The Hunger Games Series Thus Far

Happy Sunday Bookshelf Battlers!  May the bookshelves be ever in your favor…

The Bookshelf Battler (that’s me, I’m just an important person who refers to himself in the third person) saw the latest installment of the blockbuster book based movie franchise, The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay:  Part 1 in an early Thursday night showing.  The place was packed.  People love these movies.

For those unfamiliar with the books and/or movies (I don’t know, maybe you’ve been too busy coal mining in District 12 to follow pop culture), the series takes place in the  chaotic future land of Panem,  where the the snobby rich evildoers who run “the Capitol” bask in luxurious lifestyles built on the backs of the poor laborers who toil away in the Districts.  No, it was not written by Occupy Wall Street.  The story  follows Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence in the role that made her career, as she battles the Capitol’s leader, the sinister President Snow (played by Donald Sutherland.  Yes, he’s still alive).

The series begins with the original Hunger Games in which the Capitol revels in watching an annual extreme reality TV show competition – i.e. The Hunger Games.   Every year, all the districts are required to cough up one young male and one young female to compete in a free-for-all, fight to the last person standing competition.

Here is a parody of my conversation with the world when I saw the first film in 2012:

WORLD:  Oh wow!  The Hunger Games is so awesome!  Go Katniss!  Wooo!  Yeah!

ME:  Umm…wait a minute.  Am I the only one who is disturbed by the fact that this is a movie about children murdering other children?

WORLD:  Wow!  Katniss has a burning fire dress!  What a great movie!  Woohoo!

ME:  How did  this even get published?  Did somebody just walk into a publisher’s office and say, “Yeah, hey listen, check it out, I’ve got this great idea for a novel.  It’s the future.  All these kids are thrown into a dome full of guns, machetes, and weapons and they are forced to shoot each other and hack each other to pieces.”

WORLD:  Woohoo!  Great movie!

ME:  I mean, isn’t this pretty much the The Running Man with kids?

WORLD:  Running what?  Shut up!  We’re trying to watch the movie!  Katniss is going to unleash a bunch of futuristic killer bees on some kids!

ME: The Running Man.  It was a very violent 1980’s movie starring Arnold Schwarzennegger and Jesse Ventura.  It was a futuristic game show where convicted criminals were forced to do battle.  Arnold was wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and he had to battle his way out of an obstacle course filled with all kinds of evil psychopaths.  It’s like somebody went to Hollywood and said, “Let’s make The Running Man but with kids!”

WORLD:  Shut up.  Those guys were governors.  They weren’t in any movies.

cropped-hunger-games-bookshelf-battle.jpg

But I suppose once you get around the Lord of the Flies-esque nature of the Hunger Games, it isn’t that bad a series.  I noticed that in the sequel, Catching Fire, there is another Hunger Games battle royale in which grown up adult winners of the past games come back to compete.  I hope this means someone, somewhere said, “Hey wait a minute, let’s cool it on the child vs. child killing competitions.”

Eventually, as the series moves along, it becomes less about the competition and more about Katniss becoming a revolutionary freedom fighter, working to take down President Snow’s corrupt government.  In other words, it starts to become a sci-fi action fantasy and that’s a direction that’s easier to get behind.

In Mockingjay: Part I we finally see Katniss come into her own as a symbol of hope for the anti-Capitol uprising.  Lots of action, special effects, and so on.  Overall, it’s a great series of books and despite my above criticisms (what work is without flaws?) I still find them shelf-worthy.

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Quick Note on Mockingjay Part I

Doo dee doo doo.

Sorry, that’s how the Mockingjay call translates into the written word.  Best I can do.

Just back from an early Thursday night showing of The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Part 1.  As expected, it did not disappoint.  I’ll be back later this weekend to review the movies made thus far from the popular book series.

In the meantime:

1)  Enjoy the Hunger Games header.

2) Check out this article on CNN about people being getting in trouble in Thailand for doing the Mockingjay salute.  Katniss inspires freedom lovers in real life!

3)  Few things illustrate the precious yet frail state of life more than seeing Phillip Seymour Hoffman on the big screen yet knowing that he passed away earlier this year.  Damn you, heroin!

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Literary War Quotes

In honor of my latest obsession with Call of Duty, I’ve decided that this week will be a week of literary war quotes.  Throughout the week on bookshelfbattle.com there will be quotes from books, characters, and authors and each will provide a different perspective of war.

Here’s today’s quote:

“A small but noteworthy note. I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.” – Death, the Narrator of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Have you ever read The Book Thief?  I haven’t but have seen the film and enjoyed it.  The use of Death as the narrator was an original, unconventional idea that worked.  It was set during World War II, which was, after all, a very busy time for the Grim Reaper.  Essentially, what the author is trying to convey here is that soldiers often think they are going up against the opposing army but ultimately, they’re engaged in an activity that is just going to bring death upon them way too soon.

To state the obvious, war sucks.  This will be a constant theme of the literary war quotes we will explore.

Tune in tomorrow folks.  Same Bat Time.  Same Bat Channel.

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Gone Girl – A Review of the Movie, Not the Book

Long time no see, blogarinos.  What can I say?  I have been busy.  I wish I could say that I have been busy with something worthwhile, but alas, it has been mostly with an onslaught of fabulous Fall TV.  Why, oh why must they put all my favorite shows on at the same time?

I’ve been hearing for quite some time now that Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is an amazing read, and though sadly I never got around to it, I am pleased to say that I did recently take in the film version starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

SPOILER WARNING – If you do not want the surprises to be as gone as the girl, then stop reading.

In no particular order, a list of reasons why I found this film entertaining:

1)  Rosamund Pike deserves an Oscar nomination.  She has always been a decent actress but up until now, has never quite found her niche role.  Honestly, this movie made me learn her name.  Previously, she’d just been that blonde woman who has been in a lot of stuff.

2)  Someone involved in the movie must have had a penchant for all grown up former adolescent nerd TV stars.  Patrick Fugit, aka the aspiring Rolling Stone reporter from Almost Famous and Lee Norris, aka Minkus on Boy Meets World both have cameos as police officers.  I mean honestly, in real life, I would not want either of these poindexters kicking down doors and/or being responsible for public safety but for movie purposes, it was fun to see them in action.

3)  Actually, add to that former nerd TV star list Neil Patrick Harris (who once upon a time played Doogie Howser, M.D.) – I suppose I gave him a pass as a “former TV nerd” since his career had a comeback with How I Met Your Mother.

4)  It is an excellent mystery movie that will keep you guessing.

5)  Sadly, it reinforces what we all know to be true but no one wants to admit – a woman can say anything – anything at all – and people will believe it.

So pick your future brides to be carefully, fellas, because well, you might end up like Ben Affleck’s defeated protagonist.

BONUS:  Tyler Perry was in this movie and a) he did not dress up like an outrageous overweight granny and b) did not suck.

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