A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A couple of good movies from a couple of good books

Scott Smith's The Ruins (currently $6.39 on Kindle) was fairly well received when it was released a few years ago, and shortly thereafter was made into (in my view) a pretty effective horror movie. Here's what I recently wrote about the movie on Amazon:

This tourists' nightmare is not for those who watch a horror movie and then say something like, "I hated that movie, it was so gross!" Too many people watch a horror movie and then are shocked- shocked, I tell you!- when said movie is well... horrifying. And that's what The Ruins- with its blood and stabbings and campsite surgeries and amputations, etc.- definitely is: horrifying. It's also well acted and directed, and supported by a clever premise. And it's brave, as it delivers to viewers a polished, big-budget horror movie that has as its central menace... creeping vines. And pulls it off. I thought the movie was refreshing and original, but yeah- I have to warn you that it's not easy to take. But that's what I liked about it. There are plenty of other movies around when you're in the mood for heartwarming or funny or cute.

I viewed the unrated edition of "The Ruins" on standard DVD, which looks and sounds spectacular (who needs Blu-ray with transfers like this?). Even the generous amount of extra features (featuring lots of interviews and behind-the-scenes activities) look wonderfully sharp and clean.

Give this one a whirl if you like some actual horror in your horror movies.

And to impress you with my amazingly wide-ranging taste, here's a quick look at another film adaptation, this time of Bernhard Schlink's complex and moving novel, The Reader (available on Kindle for $7.99):

This beautifully acted and shot film is laced with complex characterizations and complex emotional situations, making it a breath of fresh air in today's increasingly simple cinematic landscape. Thematically, the movie doesn't necessarily say that people should find a way to forgive or look beyond horrific acts a friend or loved one may have committed, only to make us understand why some people might do so. To that end, the movie demonstrates how one's personal experience with someone will often trump how we should feel about that person, even if it's clear that the person did some terrible things. The movie also functions as a methaphor for German society in the post-World War II years, where young Germans were repelled by what their parents and other respected elders did during the war, yet simply couldn't shun and abandon them. The Reader looks spectacular on standard DVD (the image sports a perfect balance between sharpness and warmth) and there's a generous array of special features that further illuminate the thoughtful, emotional story. Definitely for mature audiences, The Reader is highly recommended for a night when you're in the mood for something a cut above mere time-passing entertainment.

Yes, we like all kinds of movies here in the taproom, as well as all kinds of books. What are you recommending these days?

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